If you are a senior citizen and own a business, then you know how important it is to maintain a safe environment for your employees and clients. If you are experiencing financial difficulties or simply try to save money, you may be taking extra steps to help conserve your financial resources.
One of these steps may be shoveling the snow on your business property yourself instead of of relying on a commercial snow removal professional. Not only might your snow removal technique be ineffective, but it may also endanger your health. Here are some ways snow shoveling can be dangerous for senior citizens and how you can reduce your risk for accidents, injuries, or illness related to shoveling and winter weather:
In order to speed up your shoveling job, you may scoop too much snow onto your shovel. This makes your load heavier which will make you tire faster. In addition to causing fatigue, shoveling heavy loads of snow may spike up your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Shoveling too much snow at a time may also promote the release of adrenaline and cortisol into your system, raising your risk for chest pain and cardiac arrhythmia. If you become exhausted when shoveling snow, or if you experience chest pain, pain in your left arm, or jaw pain, or if you feel lightheaded, dizzy, nauseated, or start to sweat, stop shoveling immediately and seek emergency medical attention.
Also, if you have preexisting medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, renal problems, or diabetes, do not even consider shoveling snow. Instead, call a commercial snow removal company who will shovel your business walkways and plow your parking lot, if necessary. Senior citizens may be more predisposed to existing cardiovascular and other health conditions, and therefore, may be more susceptible to snow shoveling–related health risks.
Many senior citizens have degenerative diseases of the spine and arthritic conditions. Because of this, shoveling snow may heighten the risk for permanent injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
If you have problems with your neck, spine, hips, or knees, do not shovel the snow at your business. Instead, leave to a snow removal company. If, however, you feel compelled to shovel a small portion of the sidewalk so that your employees can gain access to the workplace, use proper body mechanics when doing so.
In addition, if you have a musculoskeletal disorder that causes significant discomfort, take your pain medication an hour or so before shoveling snow. When doing so, you will have a better range of motion when navigating the snow shovel so that you will be less likely to sustain an injury.
As people age, metabolism can slow and circulation can diminish. Because of this, senior citizens who shovel snow may be at risk for developing hypothermia, or a low body temperature caused by your body's inability to retain heat.
Hypothermia can be especially dangerous when it develops outside in cold temperatures. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, increased urination, and mental confusion.
If you develop any of these symptoms while shoveling snow, seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible. To reduce your risk for hypothermia when outside in cold temperatures, dress in layers. Doing so helps prevent heat loss and helps to keep your core body temperature warmer, reducing your risk of organ damage.
If you are a senior business owner and need the snow removed from your premises, do not do it yourself. Instead, call a commercial snow removal professional who will not only shovel and plow your premises, but will also put an ice-melting substance on the pavement so that your employees and customers do not have an accident as a result of a fall.
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