Ah-choo, 9 facts about sneezing

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Allergy and cold season is upon us, some sneezes are brief and barely recognizable, others shake an entire room. Some people sneeze just once and others four or five times in a row. Here are some facts about what happens when and why we sneeze.

What does sneezing do for our bodies?

Sneezing is a reflex that protects us from foreign particles that might get into our lungs. When you sneeze it’s because sensory receptors in the nose are activated by those particles. The particles send signals to the brain stem to get the irritants out.

Can we control whether or not we sneeze?

Yes! Sneezing is a respiratory reflex that consists of two parts, irritating sensory receptors in the nose and inhaling. You may be able to stop the reflex on the inhale by putting your finger under your nose.

Can you get injured by a forceful sneeze?

Major League baseball player Sammy Sosa missed a month of games after spraining his back after sneezing violently. Other injuries that have been reported from sneezing or holding back a sneeze include, stroke, miscarriage, car crashes, broken blood vessels and fainting.

When you sneeze, how fast and how far are the particles propelled?

Size of body frame determines the velocity of a sneeze. Reports clock a sneeze hurling particles up to 100 mph. most sneezes travel around 10 mph. The distance of propelled particles can be launched as far as 20 feet.

Why does looking at a bright light help you sneeze?

Genetics determine the “photic sneeze reflex” also known as sun sneezing. The tendency to sneeze when looking at the light runs in your family, and affects around 35% of people.

Why do some people sneeze much louder than others?

Strength, sound and volume of a sneeze have many contributing factors, anatomical and physiological differences among people will determine the volume and power of their sneezes. Surveys show that many people admit to sneezing differently in private vs. public.

Why do we close our eyes when we sneeze?

Closing our eyes while sneezing is more like a blink, coordinated movements that are part of the involuntary reflex of sneezing. The closing of eyes is a biological adaptation acting as a shield from whatever irritants is being expelled.

Why do some people sneeze two or three times in a row?

You will sneeze as many times as it takes to clear the nose. In one lab study researchers found that nasal cells from people with sinusitis, a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed, will not respond to a sneeze in the same way others do.

Is it true people can’t stop sneezing?

There have been reports of people who have experienced extended sneezing sessions. There was as case of a girl sneezing 200 times in 20 minutes, and a teen boy who reported sneezing three to six times a minute over about a month. According to the Guinness World Records the longest sneeze was a 12-year-old girl who sneezed about a million times over a year.

Research form Berkeley Wellness University of California. For similar information click here. 

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