WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There's an unfortunate side note to our first snow storm of the season. Dozens of snow-related injuries are reported at hospitals throughout the state, including Baystate Medical Center.
The medical director for Baystate Health Urgent Care said every winter, the warnings about snow safety go out, but every year, the injuries come in.
So far, this season is no exception.
Snowblowers have been out for the first time this season. That also means urgent care centers and emergency rooms inevitably get an influx of snowblower-related injuries.
"They don't use an instrument or tool to unclog the snow. They go in their with their hands or feet and they can trigger the auger and get a bad amputation injury with their toes or hands," said Dr. Brian Sutton with Baystate Urgent Care.
Sutton said the first snow storm of the season kept them busy. Whether it's putting hands or feet into a clogged blower or something Sutton said people don't think about, but happens often.
"We've seen some shrapnel injuries from running over debris that's in the way and blowing them into where kids are standing," Sutton explained.
The snow blower acts as a launcher.
"The important safety tip for that is know where you're going and pick up any sort of plastic toy or debris or stick that can get into the auger and get thrown as a projectile and hit someone," Sutton added.
Sutton said watch what you're wearing while snow blowing.
"Loose clothing while operating a snow blower can be hazardous as well. You can lean over and get caught. If you're wearing a loose scarf or pants, they can get caught up in the auger and it can be a bad injury," Sutton noted.
Baystate reports doctors also saw cardiac patients during this last storm.
"If you get chest pain while you're shoveling, stop immediately and rest and if the pain continues, call 911 and get to a hospital," Sutton said.
Back pain, frostbite, and frost nip and other snow-related injuries are also common, but happens every winter.
"It's not a surprise it comes with the season," Sutton said.
Also, a reminder that even if the snow blower's engine is off, it can cause injuries. Manufacturers said when snow or ice blockage is removed from the snow blower's auger, it can release built-up pressure in the blades, giving it an unexpected extra turn or two.