Recently Caramel got his paws on a set of four books about the human body, each focusing on one major system. Today he reviews the first one he read in the series: The Science of Snot and Phlegm: The Slimy Truth about Breathing written by Fiona MacDonald. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: Tell me about this book Caramel.
Caramel: This book is about snot and phlegm. As you could tell from the title.
S: Hmm, sounds fascinating. Do you know the difference between them? It seems everywhere in the book they are used together, like “snot and phlegm”.
C: Snot and phlegm are both mucus, and the difference is that phlegm is in the chest and throat and snot is in the nose.
S: Do they ever define them?
C: They only define them in the glossary I think. So phlegm is “thick mucus from the chest often containing dead white blood cells, bacteria and sailva.” And snot is “mucus from the nose.”
S: What else is in the glossary?
C: Adenoids, allergens, allergies, alveoli, arteries, asthma, bacteria, and …
S: Okay, that is enough I think.
C: No wait! I wasn’t finished!
S: But we got the point, don’t you think?
C: Too bad.
S: But we should talk more about the book itself. We can go over the glossary again together later.
S: So tell me more about this book.
C: Okay. Here are the chapter names. Introduction. The Breath of Life. Protect and Survive. Why Do Noses Run? Sinuses, Tonsils, and Adenoids. The Cold Virus. What is Hay Fever? Too Much! Why Do We Cough? What Are Bronchitis and Pneumonia? Breathless. No Airway! Breathe Easy. And then there is the glossary and the index.
S: Those sound interesting! So why do we cough?
C: Let’s consult the book. Page 20. Coughing is our diaphragm pushing out air from our lungs fast. It is supposed to clear the airways.
S: What does that mean?
C: The windpipe. The breathing tube connecting your lungs to your nose and mouth.
C: So this book is not only about snot and phlegm.
S: What else is there?
C: Heartburns. A heartburn is when your stomach acid goes up your throat and hurts it.
S: How is that related to your respiratory system?
C: I have no idea. Hmm, okay, apparently “a cough can also be caused by digestive difficulties.” And that is where the book talks about heartburn.
S: I see. So basically the book has some information about the respiratory system, and then some other interesting things that are closely related.
S: You have read and reviewed another series of books about the human body, do you remember?
C: Yes! The Survive series. We talked about Survive: The Digestive System and Survive: The Circulatory System and then Survive! Inside the Human Body: The Nervous System, all by Hyun-Dong Han. The second book talked about the heart, and arteries, and blood and a bit about breathing.
S: But it was not really about respiration, right?
C: Yes. That is true. That book was mainly about the circulatory system.
S: So did you learn anything new from this book?
C: Yeah. A lot. I learned about allergens for example. And the cold virus. There are many viruses that make people sick. Over three hundred that make you catch a cold.
S: Yes, that is exceptionally relevant today when we are dealing with a pandemic caused by what we think is a respiratory virus.
C: Yes. COVID-19.
S: Okay Caramel. Let us wrap up this review. What three words would you use to describe this book?
C: Helpful, interesting, colorful.
S: Okay, I think these are good descriptors. And what will you tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!