Alton man dies of heart attack while clearing snow -

Alton man dies of heart attack while clearing snow

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By Belo Content KMOV By Belo Content KMOV

( – Authorities said a Metro East man died after he suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow off his driveway.

According to authorities, 66-year-old Carl Walker, of Alton, felt shortness of breath as he was using a snow blower to clean his driveway Thursday morning. He was later taken to an area hospital where he died just before 10:00 a.m.

“With forecasts in the coming days calling for additional snow and bitterly cold temperatures, residents are being asked to be mindful of the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia” Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn said. “People with heart disease and other pre-existing medical conditions are advised to be extra cautious in the days to come.”

Authorities are providing the following tips to those shoveling snow:

Before You Shovel Snow

  • Talk to your doctor before you take on this task of snow shoveling
  • Avoid shoveling immediately after you awaken as most heart attacks occur early in the morning when blood is more prone to clotting. Wait for at least 30 minutes and warm up
  • Do not eat heavy meal before shoveling: blood gets diverted from the heart to the stomach
  • Warm up your muscles before starting by walking for a few minutes or marching in place
  • Do not drink coffee or smoke for at least one hour before or one hour after shoveling or during breaks. These are stimulants and elevate your blood pressure and heart rate

While Shoveling Snow   

  • Use a small shovel: shovel many small loads instead of heavy ones
  • Begin slowly and take frequent, 15 minute breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Dress in layers, to avoid hypothermia (low body temperature) or overheating
  • Cover your head and neck (50% body heat lost through head and neck)
  • Cover your mouth (breathing cold air can cause a heart attack or trigger breathing problems)


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