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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

What is laryngitis, and how do you get it?

Katie I. Roll Pulaski, Wisconsin

Dear Katie:

At the top of your windpipe, or trachea (TRAY-key-a), sits the voice box, or larynx (LAIR-inks). When the larynx becomes swollen, it causes your voice to sound hoarse or raspy. This condition is called laryngitis (lair-in-JY-tus). Laryngitis can be due to several causes: a viral infection from a cold or the flu; an allergic reaction; or, overuse, such as shouting at an athletic event.

Usually after resting the voice and trying comfort measures, such as gargling with warm salt water, the hoarseness goes away in one to two weeks.

Dear Dr. dory:

How do people get goosebumps when they are cold?

Kristin Dombrowski Franklin, Wisconsin

Dear Kristin:

Each tiny hair on your skin is attached to small muscles, called arrector pili muscles.

In cold or frightening situations these muscles tighten, making the hair stand straight up. The skin around the hair bunches up and makes a little bump. When all of your hairs do this at the same time, you have goose bumps!

When the hairs stand up with goose bumps, they form a sort of "cage." This cage holds air close to your body to help you stay warm. Birds ruffle their feathers, and animals fluff up their fur for the same reason. They are trying to stay warm, too.

Sometimes you get goose bumps when you are frightened. It is nature's way of making animals look scarier and bigger to their enemies. Think about how a cat looks when its hairs stand up. Maybe your body is trying to make you look bigger, too!

Words to Remember:

Here is an old saying worth remembering: "When your hands get cold, put on a hat." Much of your body heat is lost from your head and neck area, where the blood flows close to the surface of the skin. By putting on a hat, you help prevent body heat from escaping, and stay warmer.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Why do our pores close when we run cold water on our skin?

Emma Zimmerman Edwardsville, Pennsylvania

Dear Emma:

When your body senses cold temperatures, the pores in your skin get smaller to keep in body heat. The blood vessels just under the skin also get small. This action forces the blood deeper into your body to help keep your body temperature warm.

The reverse happens when you are hot. Your blood vessels get bigger. More blood comes to the surface of the skin, bringing heat to be given off in the air. The skin pores open, and sweat oozes onto the skin's surface. These actions help to cool the body.

Your friend,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Send your health questions to: "Ask Doctor Cory" Children's Playmate P.O. Box 567 Indianapolis, IN 46206 Or e-mail your question to: This column does not replace your doctor's advice.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:letters
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:Children's Playmate
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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