Why sneezing is vital to your health

By May 24, 2017health
man sneezing

Sneezing is a natural occurrence that we’ve all experienced many, many times. Sometimes, it just feels great to sneeze. But did you know it’s also good for you?

Sneezing plays a really important role in your immune system by protecting your body from infections and other antibodies that are trying to get in.

What do you need to know about sneezing?

Here are some facts about sneezing that everyone should know:

  • Sneezing helps your body: Sneezes clear your nose of unwanted bacteria.  When things get in your nose, the “sneeze center” in your brain gets a trigger that tells your body to close your eyes, throat, and mouth. Then, the chest muscles contract and the muscles in your throat open up. That’s what allows the air, saliva and mucus to come up out of your mouth and your nose.
  • Sneezes are quick: They can reach speeds 100 mph and disperse upwards of 100,000 germs into the air around you. Some of those germs can travel up to 30 feet. Yuck!
  • No sneezing while sleeping: The nerves that control your reflexes fall asleep when you do. That’s why you cannot sneeze while you’re asleep.
  • Does light make you sneeze?  One out of every three people sneezes when they see bright light. It’s a hereditary thing, and it’s nothing to worry about.
  • Ancient civilizations practiced sneezing: People of the past used to sneeze on purpose. They used grass or feathers to tickle their noses.  
  • Don’t fight the sneeze:  With speeds of 100 mph, if you try to suppress your sneeze if could cause nosebleeds, busted ear drums or other serious health problems.  
  • You might sneeze when you pluck your eyebrows: Huh? It sounds crazy, but when you pluck your eyebrows, it can trigger a nerve in your face that’s linked to your nasal passages. Thus, the inevitable sneeze.
  • Do you sneeze when you workout? You’re not alone. Exercise can make you sneeze when you work too hard. When you work hard, sometimes your mouth and your nose get dry. In response, your nose might start to drip, which will cause you to sneeze.

Does your heart stop when you sneeze?

There’s an old myth that your heart stops every time you sneeze. This, however, is not true. Researchers believe your heart rate might slow down when you sneeze, but only a little bit. That’s because most people take a deep breath before sneezing. But most people don’t even notice a change in their heart rate.


If you have any questions about sneezing, or if you’re having uncontrollable sneezing fits, call your doctor or stop by an Urgent Care clinic today.