MANHASSET HILLS - Shoveling away the thick carpet of heavy snow that was dumped on Long Island today can not only be tiresome, it can be dangerous.

Doctors are warning homeowners to shovel safely to prevent overexertion, which can lead to back and heart problems.

Timing is also key. "You want to take frequent trips outside while it's snowing so you stay ahead of the accumulation," says emergency room Dr. Salvatore Pardo. "Or, at the end of the snowstorm, you want to give yourself enough time that you can take frequent breaks while you're shoveling."

Any sign of chest pain or difficulty breathing while you're exerting yourself is usually a red flag, says Pardo.

Snowblowers can be equally dangerous, but for different reasons. They can get stuck, and even if the power is off, users are cautioned to never put their hands inside the machine.

"Sometimes it coils up and that tension needs to be released, and so that would cause it to snap suddenly if you put your hand inside it, despite the engine being off," warns Pardo.

Doctors also say it's important to dress appropriately for the snowy weather by bundling up.

For more information on snow removal safety, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.