Health experts warn about a greater risk of heart attack during snow shoveling. People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, such as lifting a heavy shovel full of snow.
Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snowdrifts can strain a person's heart.
If you must shovel snow, here are some tips:
Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.
Dress in layers and wear a hat or scarf.
Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can't produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough.
Children, the elderly and those with heart disease are at special risk. Because elderly people seem to be relatively insensitive to moderately cold conditions, they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they're in danger.
There are two types of frostbite. Superficial frostbite affects the topmost layers of skin with symptoms including burning, numbness and itching. Those areas might look white and frozen, said Dr. Stephen Prescott, president of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Deep frostbite is more serious, with a gradual loss of feeling in affected areas and swelling blisters over white or jaundiced looking skin. If touched, deeply frostbitten areas are hard and may begin to look blackened and dead. Severe frostbite often leads to amputation.
More likely in this weather are chilblains — localized areas of inflamed tissue that come from repeated exposure to cold, wet conditions in temperatures above freezing.