Monday, August 11

Slurp at your own risk

Spring is in the Air. And with it, come the maladies of the season. The other day, I was shocked by the huge title ticking across the Telegiornale Newscast screen. Even though summer after summer this news repeats itself: A little boy had died of congestion after drinking a slurpy (granita, in Italian).

Now. I am certain that the bereaved parents do not think this is a laughing matter, and nor do I. After all, one moment he was a healthy kid, slurping away, the next he was gone. But, I truly cannot believe we have the whole story here.
After all, if this were true, America, with its Monster Cup drinks and slurpys would have a literal holocaust of pre-teens. Surely, cinemas and 7-11s would be offering funeral parlour services and viewing rooms just out the back exit.

I am not a physician, so, I don’t know if one can actually die of the malady that reveals its ugly head each summer. Congestion. It’s a term I thought had gone away with the bubonic plague. But it seems to afflict thousands who foolishly dive in the chilly (in August?) waters right after downing their last piece of watermelon over pranzo. And each August, we are regaled almost daily by accounts of those who perished in their folly.

More than congestion, I simply wonder if one can die of an extreme case of Brain Freeze. As when it hits, you are immobilized instantly and do, in effect, feel like you’re going to meet your maker. They pose such a risk, that I'm sure by now in America, monster cups come with their own warning sign: Slurp at your own risk.

As for me, I’ll take my chances and keep ordering up granitas – my favorite flavour, limoncello.

But for an excellent exposé on Brain Freeze click here.


Romerican said...

I couldn't help but laugh after reading that second sentence. I know... not nice but only in Italy could a child die from a cold beverage.

SilvanaMondo said...

Me too, I laughed until the rimmel clouded up my eyes and I had to get a kleenex to calm down. It's common knowledge in Italy of course that drinking cold drinks can be at least debilitating if not deadly, let alone slurping 'granitas' too quickly. The perception persists I see, thanks to your astute observations and makes all of us who used to live in il bel' paese a little nostalgic. By the way in Bosnia where part of my family is from everyone knows you can get various illness which range from stomach ache, headache and stiff neck to downright hospitalization by not paying attention to the 'propuh' which roughly translates to contrasting drafts (i.e. windows, doors,too many open at one time). Hence no one is allowed to open windows in buses or cars even if everyone is smoking because of the propuh which will cause sudden pains and illness. Too funny.

Snow White said...

Ah, congestion is a nasty thing and it really has to do with how sweaty one is and hot and whether or not one drinks cold drinks habitually or not. This boy most likely was overheated and had been sweating it up big time and then slammed down an ice cold granita. I know this, if you are used to drinking ice cold often even in winter then it probably will not affect you. Just thinking, in America we use ice a lot more than Europeans do so when the heat kicks in people go for iced anything and they truly are not used to icing down drinks daily as us nutty Americans do. ;-)

Irreverent Italy said...

So I looked up congestion on the mayo clinic website: nothing comes up. In fact, what comes up is 'drink lots of liquids' to prevent heat stroke - overheating and what not. In fact, this is what can truly kill you in hot summer temps:

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, by strenuous physical activity, or by other conditions that raise your body temperature. Whatever the cause, you'll need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death.

So, may I offer my own theory? Kids are already on their way out from being overheated, they reach for a super-cold beverage, and keel right over. The beverage is then to blame.

That's what statisticians would call a false correlation between cause and effect.

And, my groovy little theory would also go far to explain why the malady doesn't hit teenagers in movie theatres -- they are drinking their slurpees in sub-zero temps!!!

Anonymous said...

and it is not only drinks... eating lunch and then for a swim is a huge no-no. actually,around lunch(and a few hours thereafter) is the best time to go in the water (either at the pool or al mare)since you'll practically be alone! c.

renaccio said...

OK. I know I'm way too late on this one but the first time I heard of this congestion thing was from my Italian sig oth. He got all upset when I was going to take a shower shortly after lunch. He said I'd have a congestion and that what I was doing was very dangerous. (There's not enough H2o coming out of that shower nozzle to water a plant.) Seriously thought I would keel over and die in the shower. I don't know about the poor little boy and his granita but what I think my sig oth was referring to is what we know as a cramp.

Irreverent Italy said...

No shower after lunch? Mamma Mia! Now I've heard TUTTO!!! I know congestion is cramps but, they do believe that you will get the cramp and die -- which, I have often considered if you're out there swimming, and get a nasty cramp & can't move nor get back to shore. But in the shower???
In bocca al lupo renaccio because you have a serious Italian on your hands. Does his mamma live with you???!