The suds are a disease that can be contracted by sponges. In the episode of the same name and in the book SpongeBob Goes to the Doctor, SpongeBob catches this disease. In the episode "Whelk Attack," SpongeBob mentions his experience with it. In the arcade game Nicktoons Nitro, it can be seen as an attack.
Signs and symptoms
Its symptoms seem to mirror those of the common cold or influenza, and include bad breath, sneezing, runny/stuffy nose, pale skin, fatigue, bloodshot eyes, chills, general malaise, and shakiness. Whenever the sponge sneezes, many pink bubbles emerge from their body. The disease also occasionally causes the sponge's eyes to fall out, though this can immediately be remedied by placing the eye back into its socket. Sagging of the nose/eyelids is also commonly exhibited.
The illness begins with chills and feelings of disorientation and fatigue, and then progresses to the upper respiratory tract.
The suds appear to be caused by, or at least encouraged by, prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures, in a manner similar to the common cold. The symptoms are caused by an excess buildup of soap and bubbles within the sponge.
Diagnosis of the disease is made by a certified medical doctor based on an external examination of the presenting symptoms.
Treatment of the suds involves using the sponge as a cleaning instrument to wring out the excess soap. The "sponge treatment" is a very quick and painless procedure. Once the excess soap is discharged, the sponge is able to breathe properly, retains its original color, and feels immediately energized.
While home treatment does not in itself cure the illness, resting and dressing in layers appears to alleviate some of the discomfort, at least temporarily. Plugging up the sponge's holes is typically not recommended, as the pressure buildup may cause the sponge to inflate like a balloon and eventually cause the corks to pop out like champagne corks, similar to what Patrick does while acting like a doctor to SpongeBob.
An onset of the suds appears to be self-limiting and relatively mild, although more severe cases can warrant a visit to the hospital. If left untreated it may become severe.