Minerva

Mothers’ kisses and other stories . . .

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7974 (Published 05 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7974

A “mother’s kiss” can dislodge foreign bodies from children’s nostrils. A systematic review found it useful as a first line option and safe. The trusted adult’s mouth forms a closed seal over the child’s open mouth; while occluding the unaffected nostril with a finger, the adult blows until resistance is felt when the child’s glottis closes. The adult then exhales sharply, delivering a short puff of air into the child’s mouth. The air passes through the nasopharynx, out through the unoccluded nostril, hopefully expelling the foreign body (CMAJ 2012;184:E904-12, doi:10.1503/cmaj.111864).

The concept of the “contagious yawn” also applies to the itch. Thirty volunteers were shown itch evoking images (of ants, fleas, or skin conditions) and asked how itchy they felt looking at the images and how itchy they thought the person in the images felt. Researchers also recorded the number of times the volunteers scratched themselves. Visual cues alone elicited itch sensations, but watching another person scratch themselves caused unconscious …

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