What an Air Head

This is the original definition of the term “airhead” from the 1950’s: “a military term for a base inside hostile territory where supplies and troops can be kept, and from where soldiers can more safely fly in and out of the area.” However, the definition of the term “airhead” that we know today came about in the 1970’s & refers to someone being “empty-headed.” Nowadays, I can find even more reasons to consider some people airheads & it has everything to do with what comes out of their mouths.

All humans breathe.

But, not it’s not always the same.

According to John Holmes PhD, Chief of the Research Division of the Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), results from How Much Air Do We Breathe? “indicate that adult males from adolescents through seniors breathe similar amounts of air during similar activities, as do adult females across those age groups. Children inhale more air than do adults, relative to body surface area, breathing frequency, and heart rate.”

Below is the data taken from the study presented in user friendly bar graphs:

What does this all mean? I means we breathe A LOT of air, but as much as air as we breathe, we also do something else with it: swallow.

According to Mayo Clinic, air swallowing, or aerophagia, is very common, but affects some more than others. They explain that you “may swallow excess air if you eat or drink too fast, talk while you eat, chew gum or suck on hard candies, drink carbonated beverages, or smoke. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit — even when they’re not eating or drinking.”

Air swallowing & the generic symptoms (gas) isn’t usually cause for concern, however it can get excessive & cause health problems.

When to see your doctor

Excessive belching, passing gas and bloating often resolve on their own or with simple changes. If these are the only symptoms you have, they rarely represent any serious underlying condition. Consult your doctor if your symptoms don’t improve with simple changes, particularly if you also notice:

  • Diarrhea or bloody stool, or other changes in the color or frequency of stools
  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain or chest discomfort
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly

These signs and symptoms could signal an underlying digestive condition. Intestinal symptoms can be embarrassing — but don’t let embarrassment keep you from seeking help.

Some common (& typically non-life threatening) conditions related to air swallowing include:

Snoring: “the result of tissues in the throat relaxing enough that they partially block the airway and vibrate, creating a sound.” While it may not bother the person who doesn’t it could very much impact their relationships with the people around them.

Sneezing: “a sudden violent spasmodic audible expiration of breath through the nose and mouth, especially as a reflex act.”

Burping: “the release of extra air from the belly… The belly cannot cope with all of the air, so approximately seventy-five to eighty percent of it is projected from the belly, through the esophagus and out of the mouth.”

Yawning: “an involuntary wide opening of mouth with maximal widening of jaw, together with a long and deep inhalation through the mouth and nose, followed by a slow expiration, associated with a feeling of comfort.”

Hiccups: “an unintentional movement (spasm) of the diaphragm, the muscle at the base of the lungs. The spasm is followed by quick closing of the vocal cords.”

Forget about the medical jibber-jabber…what about the best kind of AirHeads??


There they are…

A candy sensation that swept the nation back in 1985 & is still a household name for sweet-tooths everywhere. It’s manufactured in Kentucky & sold in the US & UK.

The main ingredient is sugar (no surprise) & the taffy -like candy is made in a way similar to how they make Playdoh.

For more information & answers to other Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

There’s also a movie from the 90’s called Airheads, starring Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi & Adam Sandler as bandmates.

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