Why Do People Sneeze?

Why do people sneeze? Sneezing is a reflex mechanism that expels mucus or removes tiny bits of blockages in the nostrils.

Your nose serves as the air filter for your body. Sneezing occurs when tiny particles irritate the nasal lining in the nose and cause a tickling sensation. A person takes in a deep breath when sneezing, and then expels the air forcefully through the mouth and nose to remove the obstruction in the nasal passage.

According to allergist and immunologist James Banks, sneezing acts like a broom that purges foreign particles that obstruct the nasal lining. By sneezing, we can expel unwelcome germs and bacteria especially when we are sick. A single sneeze can generate some 40,000 aerosolized droplets comprising a large amount of contagious organisms. Some people experience multiple sneezing episodes. One sneeze is sometimes not enough to blow out whatever is irritating your nose. Sometimes, sneezing is triggered through rapid changes in temperature levels, direct exposure to bright light, or a full stomach.

One of the reasons that can be inferred when asked the question “Why do people sneeze?” is due to allergic reactions. People who have allergies that affect their noses are more prone to specific irritants such as dust or pollen particles. People who have colds are also susceptible to sneezing as their noses get irritated easily.

Another answer as to “why do people sneeze?” is because a spasm is built up in the chest and the pharynx that connects the esophagus and the nasal cavity. When the nerve endings in the lining of the nose sense the irritating substances, they send impulses or signals to the part of the brain that directs involuntary actions. The brain will then send signals to the chest muscles to squeeze the lungs. The pharynx closes to prevent the air being squeezed out of the lungs into the mouth. Thus, the air is expelled through the nose by way of sneezing.

Interestingly, why do people sneeze when they walk into bright sunlight? It is said that this is a reflexive response that is triggered through sudden exposure to intense sunlight. The ultraviolet rays of the sun cause irritation in the nose lining.

Certainly, there are preventive measures in addressing sneezing. A technique used to prevent sneezing is holding your breath while counting to ten. Other preventive techniques you can apply are deep exhalation, crinkling your nose, keeping your eyes open, or gently pinching your nose for several seconds.

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