Top 5 Winter Health Hazards

Single-stage Simplicity snow thrower in use on...

With 2 months or so left to go before escaping into spring, its worthwhile to run down a list of five winter weather health hazards.

1.       Frostbite:  When you are exposed to cold for too long, certain parts of the body begin to hurt.  Then, they stop hurting.  Once the hurt stops, things go from bad to worse.  Frostbite is treated similar to burn injuries, and can be just as significant.  Mild cases may leave only a blister.  Serious ones result in loss of appendages.

2.      Icy roads/walkways:  Sloppy conditions lead to cars sliding all over the place, causing anything from fender-benders to major crashes.  Slipping on iced-over steps and walkways can cause injuries ranging from minor to fatal.

3.      Snowblower injuries:  Although probably not part of high-school physics classes, schools in winter areas should review the potential energy remaining in a snowblower when it gets jammed with snow/ice.  Though the machine seems calm, once the clog is loosened that blade moves, fast.  Every hand surgeon covering ER call in a winter area has probably operated on the result, some several times in a season.  Unless you are Superman, you can’t possibly move your hand fast enough.  (And anyhow, Superman would have done the driveway using his heat vision)

4.      Falling off roofs:  The weight of rooftop snow can be a serious problem.  It is not as serious as what happens when one slides off the roof or the ladder collapses.  If you are worried about the roof coming in, do your local trauma room a favor and call a professional to clear it off.

5.      Shoveling snow:  Wet, heavy snow (the common Northeast variety) is about 20.8 lbs per cubic foot.  So for a 50’x20’ driveway, six inches deep with snow, you (and your back) are lugging over five tons of material if done by hand.  Everything from strained muscles to heart attacks can result.

Did I forget any?  If so drop a line.  And if you are tired of winter weather, click here for a more permanent solution.


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