Health Tips
Frostbite: What You Really Need to Know
Jan 28, 2014 - 12:04:34 PM

Risk of frostbite and hypothermia increase across the country

( - As Americans brace themselves for yet another onslaught of the Polar Vortex, frostbite cases are increasing across the country. 

Although frostbite sounds like something that only happens in the movies, it's actually a common issue this time of year, and with this season's frigid wind chills, it can happen in as little as 30 minutes. Signs of frostbite can include skin that feels numb, waxy or unusually firm, or skin that is white or grayish-yellow. 

Board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. Jordan Pritikin says, "Frostbite occurs when the body is subjected to extreme cold. In an attempt to stay warm, the body diverts bloodflow from the extremities such as the hands, feet, and nose in order to preserve heat. As a result, oxygen isn't delivered to these areas and cell death occurs. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe tissue damage and even require amputation."

Dr. Pritkin continues, "Frostbite often occurs when people are in car accidents or stranded on the side of the road. They aren't dressed for the temperature because they weren't expecting to be stuck in the cold. Sadly, this has led to many cases of frostbite, hypothermia and even death. 

Always dress warm (coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and plenty of layers), even if you are just running out to the store for milk. And keep a first aid kit and plenty of blankets in your car. Show the same concern for your animals as well-they can also suffer from frostbite."

About Dr. Jordan Pritikin:

Dr. Jordan Pritikin is a board-certified otolaryngologist at Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center, a private medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of nasal and sinus disorders. Dr. Pritikin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and attended Rush Medical College in Chicago, where he was selected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Society. Over the years, Dr. Pritikin has cultivated an interest in Rhinology, focusing his practice on diseases of the nose and sinuses, and has participated in clinical research exploring innovative therapies for chronic sinusitis. He has lectured at local and national meetings, developed informational and training videos demonstrating surgical techniques for the nose and sinuses, and has helped develop and refine instruments designed for sinus surgery. Dr. Pritikin and the Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center offer patients an unparalleled level of service, utilizing state-of-the art technology and innovative treatments while maintaining a thoughtful and caring approach. For more information visit


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