Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvanians prepare for winter weather this weekend, the Wolf Administration is encouraging residents to take steps to remain healthy and safe to prevent injury. 

“It is essential that people across the state take steps to remain safe during the upcoming winter weather,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We are committed to ensuring a healthy Pennsylvania, and we know that snow and ice can cause a number of health and safety challenges for people of all ages. It is important that people take steps to prevent injuries from shoveling, take precautions to prevent slips and falls, and dress for the weather.”

When shoveling snow, it is important for people to consider their physical fitness. Those who are not used to strenuous physical activity can quickly become tired from shoveling. Follow these additional tips to make removing snow safer:

  • Consider shoveling in shifts instead of all at once; 
  • Take breaks and drink water to prevent dehydration; 
  • Push snow instead of lifting it – if you must lift, bend your legs and not your back;
  • Avoid twisting motions that can stress your back; and
  • If using a snow blower, follow all safety instructions and stay aware of others who may be nearby.

Hypothermia and frostbite are two dangerous and potentially fatal conditions which can occur during cold weather, particularly when there are low wind chills. Signs of hypothermia include an unusual drop in body temperature, shivering, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color, most often in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes, and can permanently damage your body or lead to amputation.

For parents and children spending time outdoors, it is important to properly dress for the conditions. Clothing should include: 

  • Several layers; 
  • Waterproof, insulated jacket;
  • Pants that will keep skin dry; 
  • Hat that covers the ears; 
  • Gloves; and 
  • Scarf or other covering to protect the face.

Walking on icy surfaces is extremely dangerous. Thousands of people are injured each year during the winter months from falling on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways and porches. It is important to keep all walking areas as free of ice as possible to reduce the risk of slipping. In addition, take slow, deliberate steps if walking on ice, wear shoes with grip to help you as you move and be aware of potential areas of black ice.

For more information on staying safe during winter weather, visit the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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