During the summer months, a chorus of sneezes is something that you’ll often hear when walking through a park or neighborhood. Most of the time, the automatic response is “oh, it’s just my allergies.” While that can certainly be true, there’s much more to a sneeze than just that.
1) Sneezes help our noses stay more effective.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but sneezes are a method in which our body effectively resets our nose’s ability to do a great job at trapping the bad particles in the air. Think of it like a computer that gets super slow or frozen on a screen. Often times you’ll have to do a complete shutdown in order for it to work properly. This is exactly what your nose does when generating a sneeze. After your nose is cleared, it begins to work like a freshly oiled machine once again.
2) Multiple sneezes don’t necessarily mean you’re sick.
After one has said “bless you” multiple times to someone, it’s common for people to begin sanitizing their entire being. However, sneezing multiple times isn’t always a sign that someone has a cold. In fact, it’s just your nose working even harder to do the “reboot” we talked about above. If there are any particles trapped in your nose, a sneeze helps push them further out.
3) If you’re snoozing, you’re definitely not sneezing.
Sneezing is a reflexive action, caused by a number of different triggers. Because your nerves are relaxed when you’re sleeping, you do not have the urge to sneeze. Because of this, and the fact that some sneezes are just to clear the nasal passages, it’s often that you’ll hear more sneezes during daytime hours.
Note: If someone does place some sort of irritant (like pepper) under your nose while sleeping, you may wake up and sneeze. But, it’s our hope that most people won’t do that!
4) Your heart does NOT stop when you sneeze.
Contrary to popular belief, your heart doesn’t stop when you sneeze. When you sneeze, it’s natural to feel a slight pressure change in your chest due to the force. This change may alter blood flow, causing a “skipping” sensation in your heartbeat, but you don’t have to worry about anything stopping.
5) Sunlight can help some people sneeze.
Most people have been told to look at the light if they really need to let a sneeze. Did you know that it actually can help? About one in four people sneeze due to sunlight. This is all caused by a reaction called photic sneeze reflex. So, next time you’re walking around outside and hear sneezes, don’t just assume that it’s pollen–it could be a reflex!
While sneezing is satisfying, it’s also an easy way to spread germs quickly. Whether you are sick or not, make sure to cover your sneezes as much as you can, as the mucus you can spread can go up to five feet in radius.
If you’re experiencing severe issues, or have questions about how to relieve your allergies or sinuses, contact Madison ENT today for more information!