This amazing guest post was written by Mary Grace, a freelance writer! We encourage you to follow her on Twitter!
Our bodies do all sorts of kooky things. Sometimes it can annoy us, or just confuse us. Small things like sneezing or blushing can seem unnecessary, but many of these tiny strange bodily functions are actually ways for your body to defend itself against creeping health issues. Just like allergies trying to defeat ‘invaders’. The achy joints and ticklish sides are the spears and swords in your body’s fight to survive.
7 Body Functions That Alert You of Health Problems
Fun fact: the following weird signs you may experience at one point or another are defense mechanisms!
However you forcibly expel air, mucus, and irritants out of your nose, with a cute a-choo or an antique car noise that sounds like it came out a WW1 veteran, sneezes are your bodies way of expelling irritants (and bacteria and viruses) from out of your respiratory tract.
If you have allergies or sneeze when you get into the sun (called a photic sneeze reflex) sneezing can seem like the most annoying, seemingly useless thing ever, but it’s your body getting rid of what it sees as enemy outsiders trying to invade your body.
If you’re sneezing all the time, you could be allergic to something in your environment, or your environment might have some issues. If you’re allergic (which is most probable) you can get an allergy panel from your doctor, but if it’s in your environment, you might have some bigger problems.
It can be something small, like needing to dust or something big, like a sensitivity to particles in the air. You can actually look at how many particulates are in the air in your area here.
2. Finger Wrinkles
Those tiny raisin fingers you get from a long, well-deserved soak are actually your finger’s way of giving you super grip when moist. It works through osmosis on the bottom of your feet and on your fingertips. So when you go to grip the edge of the tub or those slippery rocks on the edge of a fantastically tropical waterfall that you found yourself diving into.
If you haven’t given your hands a dip and your finger wrinkles are still popping, you might have some very serious issues going on. Dehydration, thyroid issues, and diabetes can all cause finger wrinkles without water around. Or if you get no wrinkles, it could be a sign of nerve damage.
3. Eye ‘Gunk’
Eye gunk is pretty gross, but it actually accumulates all the time, like saliva. But when you sleep, it builds up since you don’t blink, which means that your tear ducts aren’t regularly washing away the sandman’s sleep (which is called rheum).
It’s a great way for your body to get things out of your eyes, contact wearers and allergy sufferers might see a little more build up of this mucus, but if it can be washed away, and doesn’t seem excessive it’s not a huge deal.
If you’re starting to grow stalactites in the morning, or if the gunk seems off (watery, thick, green, etc…) you might have a mild form of conjunctivitis, you should probably see a doctor, and wash your pillowcases more regularly.
Stress is the worst. (Well, not the absolute worst. It’s not fun. Dying is worse.) It can make you breathe faster, your heart pump, your hair fall out, and can kill you deader than a squirrel puck on the side of HWY101. But it serves a purpose. It gets you moving and motivated.
While you need stress to run when an earthquake happens, or raise your adrenalin levels when you need to flip a car, you also should be able to set them back down; chronic stress can be harmful to your school work, health, and life. This is why managing your own (and your child’s) stress levels is so important when it comes to warding off health issues.
It might seem like it’s coming from nowhere, but a lot of stress has an origin. If you’re stressed about work, about being on time, about the president, or that winter will never end, these are all very reasonable reasons to be stressed, but they are real issues that can be tackled.
The more directly you can tackle your problems and why they keep you up at night, the better you’ll be able to take on and manage your stress in an efficient manner. Everybody has it, everybody feels it, but not all people use it to help them. You can be one of those people. Distress from the unnecessary, and take over the important.
5. Being Ticklish
Am I ticklish? Oh no! Definitely not!
Being ticklish is great, who hates laughing? But it can also be annoying, from almost kicking someone when getting a pedicure, to laughing your way through a massage, sometimes you wish you could just relax a little bit. Being ticklish is also a defense mechanism.
It’s how your body protected itself from bug infestations, and it teaches you to be defensive of the sensitive parts of your body. If you are super ticklish, it could just mean that your skin is good at knowing when it’s touched and that you would’ve made a great warrior (no mortal wounds for you, protect those vital areas!).
Blushing sounds adorable, you think of the little pink circles under the eyes, until it happens to you and you look like a tomato that just came back from a week under the sun. Red, whole face. But that involuntary reaction might be one of the reasons that your ancestor didn’t get smashed to death by the tribe alpha.
It’s a nonverbal cue that you can’t fake that lets others know that you are embarrassed for what is happening. There’s no real downside to blushing; you could even be a nicer person if you’re an avid blusher.
As long as it’s not a mistaken windburn or a sign of a circulatory problem, you should just keep blushing away. And know that we all think you’re adorable when you blush, even if you don’t.
We don’t think about blinking (unless you just watched the stone angel episodes of Dr. Who) but it’s an important part of our health! While it seems silly to miss that microsecond every 10 seconds, but your eyeballs need it. Not only does it eliminate all that eye mucus from building up.
It also wipes your vision centers from bacteria, dust, and deals with some damaging light exposure. All while spreading a magic mix of oil and mucus over your baby blues (or browns) to keep them moist.
If you are blinking all the time and it feels like a lot (or maybe you just noticed because we mentioned it), a humidifier can take some of the moisture load off your big blinkers. Eye drops are also great, but excessive use can wash away some of that magic oil and mucus away (like washing your face too much).
If you’re seeing real problems with blinking all the time, you might have a dust problem or have an eye infection and should visit your General Practitioner (GP-go see the doc).
There are a lot of weird things your body does to help it maneuver better or thrust foreign invaders out of it. If you’re concerned about any of these defense mechanisms going on in your body, consider visiting your GP or take a more active role engaging with your health.
An active role in your health can help you track your progress and distinguish a pattern of how often these things common health problems happen (is it really that often?!). Plus, engaging with your health with help you manage your physical and mental stability long into the future.