Sneezing is a fact of life. Babies do it and some animals even sneeze. Have you ever wondered why? Sneezing is nature’s way of keeping the nose healthy – sort of like a reset button.
- Most of the air we breathe comes in through our nose. Along with the air come allergens – pollen or other things that cause an allergic reaction – and pollutants – things like perfume, dust, or cigarette smoke.
- The nose is lined with thousands of tiny hairs called cilia. These hairs are constantly moving, sending some pollutants into the stomach where acid gets rid of them or moving pollutants out of the nose and out of our bodies. Cilia help keep the body healthy by getting rid of pollutants.
- Sometimes, the pollutants trigger a sneeze, a complex reaction in which air builds up in our lungs and is forced out at great speed.
- We also sneeze to get rid of excess mucous. The nose produces almost four cups of mucous every day. This mucous keeps the noise moist and helps the cilia move pollutants out.
- The air forced out when we sneeze can travel up to 100 mph and spew saliva, mucous, and germs as far as 30 feet.
- Bright sunlight makes some people sneeze. This is called a photic sneeze reflex.
- It’s common to sneeze two or three times in a row.
- Your eyes always close when you sneeze. It’s impossible to sneeze while you’re asleep.
- Pollen: a plant material that many people are allergic to
- Cilia: tiny hairs in the nose
Questions and Answers
Question: Is it okay to stifle a sneeze?
Answer: Trying not to sneeze can cause more damage than sneezing. Holding in a sneeze can cause blood vessels to rupture or even damage your ear drums.
Watch a video about sneezing.
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Declan, Tobin. " Why Do We Sneeze? Fun Kids Facts ." Easy Science for Kids, Jul 2018. Web. 20 Jul 2018. < http://easyscienceforkids.com/sneeze/ >.
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Tobin, Declan. (2018). Why Do We Sneeze? Fun Kids Facts. Easy Science for Kids. Retrieved from http://easyscienceforkids.com/sneeze/
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