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Heart attack and hypothermia risks increase in severe winter weather

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department urges residents to use caution when shoveling snow or other strenuous physical activity outdoors due to increased risk of heart attack and other injuries. Hypothermia is also a risk with outdoor activity in winter weather.

“Residents should wear layers of clothing, a scarf and hat, when shoveling snow,” said Rex Archer, M.D. MPH, director of the Health Department. “They should also do small sections, take frequent breaks and avoid sudden twisting that could lead to a fall or pulled muscles.”

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering, heart rhythm irregularities and sleepiness. Residents having the symptoms of hypothermia should move to a warm environment and remove wet clothing.

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the body does not produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. Hypothermia can also lead to heart failure.

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