SALISBURY, Md. – The aftermath of a snowstorm can make a busy day for local doctors.
"A lot of it is back injuries, shoulder injuries, neck injuries, head injuries, cuts from falls, sprains and fractures in from slipping on the ice and then falling," says Doctor James Burns, medical director at Peninsula Regional Occupational Health and Regional Care.
One thing many people do not think about when shoveling – looking out for their kids behind them.
"Strangely enough, we've seen head injuries from little kids getting hit in the head with shovels," says Dr. Burns. "Kids enjoy shoveling but sometimes they'll whack each other in the head and that really does happen, we've seen a fair amount of that. They'll wind up with cuts on their head, head injuries concussions and so forth."
Luckily, a lot of the injuries can be prevented. Dr. Burns recommends salting before it snows and also salting after snowing to avoid slipping. He also suggests to never lift the shovel up and throw the snow over your shoulder, but to try to push the snow instead.
He also strongly urges anyone who starts to feel tired, especially if they have cardiac issues, to take a break.
"If you start developing any sort of chest discomfort while you're out there, don't blow it off as just simply muscular," says Dr. Burns. "Get inside, you might want to call an ambulance or have somebody get you to the hospital if the roads are passable. Those things aren't a joke."
However, simply avoiding the snow shovel is not a good idea either. According to the city of Salisbury's ordinances, any homeowner on a street with sidewalks must remove all ice and snow from at least four feet on the width of the pavement. The removal must take place within six hours after the snow has stopped falling, and ignoring the ordinance means a 50 dollar fine for every day it goes untreated.
The city of Easton, Cambridge, and Snow Hill reportedly have similar ordinances that in some cases may also result in a fine. If you are unsure about your city's laws, city officials recommend contacting your local code compliance office.
In the meantime, for anyone taking part in snow shoveling, Dr. Burns has one piece of major advice.
"Just use some good judgment in both how much and how long to shovel."
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