DES MOINES, Iowa -- Snow shoveling accidents send more than 11,000 Americans to the hospital each year mostly for slips and falls but seven percent of those visits have to do with heart problems, according to Mercy One Hospital.
"Blood vessels are constricted when it's cold weather and so when they're out there doing very exertional work which is sometimes the hardest work people might do in their year. There's always the risk for someone to develop heart symptoms which could be chest pain, shortness of breath they may get sweaty so, heart attack symptoms possibly,” Mercy One Cardiac Rehab Staff Nurse Ruth Gassmann said.
This past week Mercy Hospital saw only four patients with weather related injuries while UnityPoint saw 26.
One central iowa man who recently fell on the ice, said he had to have surgery on his hip and he's thankful he let someone know he was going out to shovel.
"Definitely take you time. Don't rush. Use salt, lots of salt out there. And make sure somebody knows where you are at when you are doing it. I let the guys know that I'd be at the shop at that time so that helped out a lot. They showed up within five minutes of me falling. So if I wouldn't have let them know they probably wouldn't have been there," Jonathan Metcalf said.
Metcalf said it’s important to have a charged cell phone with you, in your pocket, when going out to shovel.