Chicago woman, 72, develops frostbite after shoveling snow

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A Chicago woman is recovering from frostbite she suffered after shoveling snow in the extreme cold. (WLS)

A Chicago woman is recovering from frostbite she suffered after shoveling snow in the extreme cold.

Karen Tulsie has been in the hospital for a few days, a tough adjustment for the active 72-year-old. In fact, she was busy shoveling the sidewalk of her Woodlawn home on Monday, January 11, and was back shoveling again on Wednesday. But the next day, she knew something was wrong.

"My legs and feet were aching. They woke me up. So I knew something must have happened to my feet when I was out there," Tulsie said.

Tulsie was concerned about frostbite and consulted with her doctor, who advised her to watch out for any blisters on her feet. They developed by Saturday, and she went to the hospital.

"It really frightened me. When you see purple toes and big, huge blisters," Tulsie said.

Doctors at University of Chicago Medical Center confirmed Tulsie had frostbite - one of several patients they have seen this season. They say her early attention to the problem helped with getting prompt treatment, and her toes did not have to be amputated. But doctors say to prevent frostbite, it's important to pay attention to the weather.

"If you have wind chills that are in the -20 range, within 30 minutes you can get frostbite on your skin," said Dr. Gary An, University of Chicago Medical Center.

Frostbite can happen in even less time if your skin is wet. Doctors say to make sure you dress in warm, water resistant layers.

"You can be out there and get frostbit, like what happened to me, and you can't feel it at all," Tulsie said.

Doctors expect to keep Tulsie in the hospital at least through the end of the week. She is expected to make a full recovery. In the future, she says she may consider paying someone to shovel for her.
Related Topics:
healthcoldweatherwinterhealthelderly womanChicago - Woodlawn
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