A doctor from the University of Amsterdam came all the way to Atlanta this week to reveal research that might help keep someone from fainting. He must expect the Falcons to return to the Super Bowl this year.

If you should feel faint, among the suggestions are: “Cross your ankles.” “Squeeze your knees.” “Grip a ball.” Please note that these are three separate suggestions and are not necessarily meant to occur in sequence. Besides, not everyone would have a ball handy to grip.

According to an Associated Press story, Dr. Nynke van Dijk led this study with financing from the Netherlands Heart Foundation.

Fainting is a reflex that can be triggered by stress, dehydration, low blood pressure and many other factors.

Let’s consider some of the “many other factors.” They might include a home pregnancy test, a visit from the IRS, a spouse returning home early from work, an oak snake in an outhouse, etc.

I’ve never fainted in my life even though I have experienced an oak snake in the outhouse. I have felt light headed though, and I have passed out briefly from the dry heaves when I had a virus. I felt better while I was passed out and did not want a cure for it.

The Amsterdam doctor said one of the successful exercises is crossing the legs at the ankles while squeezing the thighs together and tensing the abdominal muscles. By simple deduction, I would assume then that no one ever faints during a proctology exam.

It seems that every day now, some new health finding is published. I’m still waiting for that health study that says fried pork skins are actually good for you. I may faint, if it happens.

I have seen people faint before and it happened so fast, I’m not sure they could have thought of any of these precautions. These instructions, it would seem, are relative to one feeling faint in a process slow enough to allow them to get out the manual.

Apparently, fainting is of enough occurrence that it can be very dangerous for folks driving or flying a plane, the story said.

“Houston, we have a problem!” The story didn’t say that. I’ve just always wanted to use that expression in a column.

Speaking of “getting out the manual,” if you see the pilot doing this, that would be the time to start crossing your legs and squeezing your thighs.

Now I know it might seem that I’m making light of this news. And I guess I am. It just seems so simple, I would think it could have been delivered by e-mail to these doctors as opposed to Dr. Nynke van Dijk flying all the way from Amsterdam. He could have written Dr. Gott or Dear Abby.

Another exercise — should you feel a fainting spell coming on — is to interlock the fingers and pull the arms in opposite directions. I think that also is a technique used by the National Rifle Association when someone speaks of gun control.

These exercises might not reverse anything you have just witnessed like confronting a masked gunman as you enter a convenience store, but at least you will be conscious and can tell the police which way he ran.

I’m thinking that there are a lot of cures out there as simple as these., I guess it just sounds more comforting to us when we hear them from a symposium as opposed to hearing them from our grandma or aunt Hazel.

Some years ago, I discovered that standing on my head will absolutely cure the hiccups. It works for me every time. No exceptions. Not only that, you get a different perspective of the world around you. It’s cheap and any side effects are relevant to how close you do this to tables and lamps.

Someday, I expect to hear this same thing pronounced at a symposium by someone with a funny name from a land far away. Remember that I told you so.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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