science

Snot Funny

booger flickerSince my friends all seem to think that a stuffed-up head is hilarious, I’m playing along.

Q: So what is snot? 

A: Snot is the mucous your sinuses produce in response to irritation. The idea here is to flush allergens, pathogens, and the odd bean your kid stuffed up his nose out again, and keep you from getting sick. The occasional sneeze and blow is great, sure, but when you have an upper respiratory infection, your body’s defenses kick into overdrive, and you wake up at night cursing it for trying to drown itself. While usually snot is produced freely as long as your system thinks it’s needed, and its thin and clear, if you have a bacterial infection in your sinuses, if you overdo the decongestants, or let yourself get dehydrated (this is why they say to hydrate when you have a cold), then all that warm, wet, gooey, protein-rich goodness becomes a perfect habitat for bacterial growth. Which is when you start to see green in your tissues after you finally dislodge some of it. Eewww…

Q: Why does your head produce twice your body weight in snot when you have a cold? 

A: Well, like I said above, your defense system tends to go a little nuts. It’s not like there is a way to say ‘whoa, there, big fellow, we don’t need to keep Johnson & Johnson in business for a year.’ But the continuous production of head slime is a good thing, it means that your body is fighting the good fight. You really don’t want the snot to go green…

Q: What is the difference between snot and boogers? 

A: as a mother, I think I can assure you that there is only one difference: water content. Snot is slimy, drippy, and responsible for the glazed-donut appearance of a young child’s face. Boogers are drier, sticky, must be prised out with at least one finger (sometimes more) and then wiped on the first convenient surface to gross out the nearest girl (often your mother).

Q: How do you get rid of snot? 

A: well, you could wait until you feel better… I find the old-fashioned chest-full of vapo-rub works when I’m trying to sleep and breathe at the same time (I know, I want it all!). My friend Mike Six-eight suggested putting vapo-rub and socks on your feet before bed. I haven’t tried that one yet. My Dad swears by a teaspoonful of tabasco (or other hot sauce) to loosen up clogged sinuses. I try to avoid decongestants for a couple of reasons. One, I react adversely to the most common one, and two, drying up the sinuses doesn’t totally get rid of all the snot, just makes it stickier and then suddenly what you have are holes in your head that have become bacterial frat houses, and boy, are they having a party! Keeping it wet and loose and flowing OUT of your head is the goal, here. If you get a sore throat, heat up a bit of lemon and honey, equal parts, and take a teaspoonful at a time. It’s a really nice soother and distracts you from the flavor of the snot.

Q: when is it ok to use kleenex and velcro in the same sentence? 

A: Only when you are talking about how some copyrighted words have made it into our language so deeply that they are now considered common parlance, and not capitalized any longer. Words like xerox, aspirin, kleenex, and many more slipped into our vocabulary and try as they might, the big companies who once owned them can’t get them out. Kind of like that dried booger just out of fingertip reach…

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14 thoughts on “Snot Funny

  1. People have suggested hot foods for sinus-clearing to me before, but they only last for 5-10 minutes with me. One of these days I WILL see the allergist, but I keep being busy doing other things.

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  2. Cedar, Grandma La Vaughn is here (working on her books — my computer is fast enough to download manuscripts, her’s isn’t). I’m going to have her read this in a few minutes when I get up to check the applesauce that’s simmering on the stove!

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    • Interesting topic! Reminds me of when singer Frank Sinatra was a budding artist, and i guess I was just a budding little girl (probably about eight) and staying with my Aunt Alice for a night or so, we got chewed out royally by our aunt for saying “Frank SNOTra.

      With that little halo over my head,I’m quite sure it was my brother Craig who started it..

      Grandma

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  3. There is a venerable old pre-Renaissance tune used in church services so crusty that I haven’t seen one yet. Yet I did sing the song in Ypsilanti High School Choir.

    It had a touching refrain– “Weep oh, mine eyes, and cease, not!” The teacher kept warning us that if we did not enunciate and breathe correctly at the same time, we would “see snot.” We also had the concert starring this diddy in January, in the height of snot season. Coincidence? 🙂

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