It’s July 11th – also known as “Free Slurpee Day!” Today, participating 7-Elevens across the US and Canada are serving up 5 million free 7.11 oz. Slurpees in honor of their 84th birthday! And while you’re running out to grab yourself a tasty drink, courtesy of the fine folks at your local convenience store, here are some tips you might want to read before you fall into the grim clutches of an ice cream headache.
“Brain freeze” is caused by cold items touching the roof of your mouth (specifically the soft palate toward the back). The rapid cooling of the capillaries in the sinuses causes them to constrict and rebound quickly as it warms up. This capillary dilation is sensed by nearby pain receptors that interpret the pain as coming from the forehead, hence the phrase “ice cream headache.”
The best way to prevent a brain freeze from happening is simply enjoying your cold treat a little slower than you might be tempted to. If those efforts come up short, you can put a speedier end to an ice cream headache by simply adding some heat to the roof of your mouth. You can either:
- Rub your tongue up against the roof of your mouth – (you might want to use your thumb if your tongue is also cold).
- Drink something warm and thaw yourself out.
Happy Slurpee Day! – and best wishes for a comfortably warm brain!