Why does it always seem like a sneeze comes at the worst possible time? Before you know it, your eyes are closed shut, your tongue is pressed to the roof of your mouth and your body braces itself for a rapid release of pressurized air. It can be extra embarrassing if you sneeze three times in a row as you graciously thank a chorus of “God bless you.” But why do we sneeze in the first place?
Why Do We Sneeze?
Sneezing is our body’s way of getting rid of irritants that make contact with the lining inside your nose. The lining is made up of delicate skin and tiny hairs that are used to filter foreign particles and contaminants. Small particles such as pollen, dust, dirt, smoke, air pollution, mold and even pleasant smells like perfume can be the culprit of those dramatic sneezes. But it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, because your sneezes are actually resetting the lining to help you stay healthy.
Is Sneezing When Sick Different?
Yes and no. Sneezing is often listed as one of the symptoms of the common cold or the flu. This is a result of irritants affecting the mucous membrane in the nose and throat. Just like your nose rejects dust particles, it’s also trying to get rid of what is making you sick. This leads to fluid leakage, which irritates the nerve endings in your nose. While this type of sneezing isn’t necessarily a result of an irritant tickling your nose, you still sneeze to get rid of the sinus drainage.
Why Do I Sneeze Multiple Times in a Row?
Sneezing multiple times in a row can be frustrating. There isn’t much research at the moment to explain why this happens. However, it could be a sign of chronic stimulation to the nasal lining or that one person might not have a naturally strong sneeze. The most common reason is mainly due to allergies.
What is Sneeze Hygiene?
Sneeze hygiene is a method that helps limit the germs expelled when you sneeze. A typical sneeze can travel as fast as 100 mph and spread as far as 6 feet. When you sneeze, not only are you expelling the irritant, but you are also expelling water and mucus droplets, which can contain a lot of viral particles. The best way to combat this is to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands. Should your sneezing be a symptom of a cold or the flu, it’s important to consult with your doctor on the best form of treatment.
Sneezing getting out of hand? Schedule an appointment online with Dr. Kacie Watts.