5-Minute Crafts
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What to Do If Your Tongue Gets Stuck on Metal

A lot of people know that when someone touches metal with their tongue, a lip, or a wet hand, these body parts can stick. It’s not always clear why it happens and what to do in this situation.

5-Minute Crafts is going to tell you why a tongue can stick to metal in winter and how to help someone in this situation.

❗The tips we describe in this article can help you in a critical situation but don’t test them on yourself. Be careful: touching metal with the tongue, lips, or wet hands can lead to serious injury.

Why the tongue sticks to metal in winter

In short: the liquid on the tongue freezes between the skin and the cold metal.

In order for this to happen, the material you touch with your tongue should have high thermal conductivity. If you try to touch very cold plastic or rubber with your tongue, it won’t stick. These materials have low thermal conductivity, unlike metal.

The materials with high thermal conductivity transmit heat from the material with a high temperature to the material with a low temperature. In this case, from the tongue to the metal. In order for the liquid to freeze on the tongue, the heat from it should be removed and the temperature should be lowered to less than 32°F. The tongue is very warm and the body is constantly warming it through the blood circulating around the body. The material the tongue touches should have the thermal conductivity to be quick enough to cool it down faster than the blood warms it. Metal is an example of such material. The colder it is, the faster the tongue will stick.

What to do if someone’s tongue is stuck to metal

  1. Don’t pull the tongue or try to rip it from the metal surface. It can lead to injury.
  2. If there are people around, ask for help and for them to pour warm water on the metal and the body part that stuck to it.
  3. If there’s nobody around, try to warm up the tongue with the cold air from the mouth. Quickly exhale the air through the mouth, covering the area with your hands.
  4. If nothing helps, call emergency services.

Do you need to see a doctor afterward?

The area that got stuck to the metal may bleed after becoming unstuck. To help, do the following.

  • Wash your hands and put on gloves.
  • Take a clean fabric and press it on the injured area, hard. Keep the pressure for 15 minutes.
  • If the bleeding doesn’t slow down or stop, ask for medical help. At the same time, keep pressing on the injured area.

Have you ever helped anyone whose tongue got stuck to metal?

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