ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Authorities say an Oakland County man has died after shoveling snow.
The 49-year-old had been shoveling his driveway along Millard Street in Royal Oak, according to officials, after about four inches of snow fell overnight.
Police said the man had a history of health problems, and after clearing the snow, he went back inside his home where he collapsed. A family member found him, called 911 and began CPR.
Despite efforts to revive him, the man was pronounced dead on scene. His name as not immediately released.
Police are reminding residents that snow removal can be a strenuous activity, and those with health concerns should be careful when shoveling snow – or get help doing it.
Physicians at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan say clearing snow for 15 minutes qualifies as a moderate, physical, daily activity recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General. However, for many sedentary, out-of-shape Americans, shoveling heavy, wet snow for 10 minutes is the equivalent of running on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion.
Studies show major snow storms are often associated with increased emergency room visits for everything from muscle aches to heart attacks, and the common denominator is snow shoveling.
The cold temperatures don’t help, either. Cold air raises blood pressure in people who don’t normally have a blood pressure problem and poses an even greater risk to people with high blood pressure, according to researchers.
No matter who you are, everyone should ease into the work to avoid a sudden load on your heart. An average shovelful of heavy, wet snow weighs 16 to 20 pounds. That means for every 10 minutes of typical shoveling, you’ll be clearing more than 2,000 pounds of snow.
To remove snow, bend from the knees, keep your back straight, lift with your legs and carry — don’t throw — it to the side.
Newly fallen snow is usually lighter, so don’t wait to remove it. Remove heavy snow in two stages: First, skim off the top layer, and then remove the bottom. If snow is too heavy to lift, push or pull it out of the way. Take frequent breaks and stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort.