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Sneezing happens when something irritates or tickles the inside of your nose. It can be many things, from a feather or germ to pepper or pollen. Most people know that. But did you know that several other not-so-obvious things can also cause this explosive, involuntary reaction? Bright light, like the kind from the sun, triggers about 1/3 of people, it’s called photic sneeze reflex.

For some, stuffing themselves with food is also a trigger, it’s called snatiation (a mix of sneeze and satiation). New science says an achoo is your nose rebooting itself like a computer does. Sometimes your nose is just overwhelmed and needs to restart.




Sneezing: What Sound Do You Make?  

Your expression for a sneeze depends on where you come from. English-speaking sneezers say “achoo,” while the French exclaim “atchoum,” and Filipinos declare “ha-ching.” The Japanese pronounce their sneeze “hakashun.”


Sneezing: Do You The World’s Most Famous Sneeze?

It may be the world’s most famous sneeze: The earliest existing copyrighted motion picture in the U.S. shows Edison Manufacturing employee Fred Ott sneezing after taking a pinch of snuff. The short film was made for, and played on, Edison’s kinetoscope. The inventor predicted his device would “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.”


Sneezing: Consequences

A forceful sneeze can send mucus flying from your nose. The thin skin that lines the inside of your honker makes as much as 2 pints of the slimy stuff each day. They defend the airway and lungs by trapping irritants such as dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. When you sneeze, these invaders are sent out with your mucus.


Sneezing: Where Does The Blessing Response Come From?

The origin of this tradition is mixed. Pope Gregory VII may have called on God to protect sneezer’s from the bubonic plague. Our early ancestors may have been worried about releasing their souls in sneezes. Others believed sneezes would carry off evil spirits. Whether “God bless you” (English), “Banish the omen” (Greek), or “Live” (Hindu), the sneeze is recognized worldwide.

You can clock a powerful sneeze at about 100 mph! Cheetahs run full-out between 70 and 72 mph. At around 24 mph, Usain Bolt, one of the fastest men on the planet would be left eating dust.


Sneezing: Protective Measures

While good manners once called for catching sneezes in the hand, health officials now warn that germs left behind can end up on people or surfaces you touch soon after. Enter the elbow as a handy spot for your sneeze that’s out of harm’s way for others. Pinching your nose shut may help to ward off an achoo, but you still risk the nose-to-hand germ transfer, and you could damage your eardrums.

Think of the moment before you sneeze as the calm before the storm. Sneezing releases droplets of hot, humid air and gas, forming something like a storm cloud. Larger droplets fall first, while the smallest remain afloat. A study found some sneeze clouds hang around long enough for the germs to get into a building’s air system.

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