Shovel right to protect your heart
iStock/ronstik People with underlying heart or circulatory disease are at increased risk of trouble when the temperature takes a dip because cold weather can put more stress on your ticker. “Your body is smart, and when it senses cold it protects your core by decreasing blood flow to your extremities,” says Dan Weinstein, MD, Medical Director of the University of Vermont Medical Center Urgent Care and Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. This process, called peripheral vasoconstriction, may increase your blood pressure and the work that your heart needs to do to pump blood. “If you add physical exertion such as shoveling into the mix that can cause additional work for the heart.” Here’s what cardiologists want you to know about shoveling snow. Reduce the strain by trying this snow shoveling technique.
Use the three-feet rule to heat your home
iStock/svedoliver When the mercury drops below even 50 degrees, the space heaters come out of deep storage. And sometimes, they get a little too hot, sparking devastating home fires. Fixed and portable space heaters are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths, according to the American Red Cross. When using a space heater, make sure to place it on a hard, level surface, and keep anything flammable, such as paper, clothing, bedding, rugs, or curtains, at least three feet away, according to guidelines from the American Red Cross. Always turn the heater off before leaving the room or going to bed. And never use a stove or oven to heat the home because of the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, the Red Cross warns. Candles are a fire hazard too. If you’re a fan of candlelight in the dark winter months, consider using new Lucid liquid paraffin candles that will self-extinguish when they tip, instead of spreading their flame. These tricks can help you keep your home toasty for less money.