By- Claudia Quesito
Italians are very cautious about their health, and they seem to be prone to malaises that apparently only occur in Italy. On the bright side of the matter, Italians are generally knowledgeable about their body parts or pains; you would never hear someone complaining about a generic stomachache.
People will instead name, with precision, which part of the stomach or the digestive system is affected. On the other hand, Italians do tend to be overly concerned about catching maladies, and their explanations of the causes often might leave you a bit dubious.
For Italians, bare feet and wet hair are taboo. Moms and grandmas appear to be convinced that walking around your house with no socks and no slippers will get you a cold, at the very least. While summer might ease the minds of moms and grandmothers to some extent, do not even try to convince them that it’s fine to walk around barefoot at home in the colder months.
Wet hair is seen as suspect even when it’s hot because it can cause you male alla cervicale. The cervical spine—the base of the neck—is a very prominent body part for Italians. If you argue that not blow-drying your hair works totally fine for you, the inevitable reply is “maybe now, but wait when you get a little older.”
Other enemies of cervicale are air conditioning (never, ever consider the idea of sleeping with the AC on) and keeping an open window behind your back, even if it’s super-hot out—especially if there is corrente, meaning a breeze or cross-ventilation caused by another open window. In general, being exposed to any kind of corrente, inside or outside, is not a good thing.
However, while affliction of the cervicale is a long-term malady, the first consequence of a breeze is the infamous colpo d’aria, which literally means that you have been hit by the air. Colpo d’aria can occur in any season, with any temperature, and can affect any part of the upper body, included but not limited to the neck area (a larger area than just cervicale), the tummy, the eyes, as well as the digestive and respiratory systems.
So, for your next trip to Italy, make sure to review your anatomy textbook and to pack a blow-dryer and a scarf!
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