Why do we sneeze? What exactly is sneezing? How can I make myself sneeze immediately? Is it bad if I sneeze a lot? What makes me sneeze so much? If your brain constantly keeps pondering over such stuff, we are here to help. Below is our detailed article to help you find all your answers.
What Is Sneezing:
Often known by the scientific term, sternutation, sneezing is a semi-autonomous reaction of our body. To define this action in simple terms it is the forceful expulsion of air from the nose and the mouth due to an external trigger. The prime cause behind the act of sneezing is irritation in the nasal cavity. This irritation traces its roots back to irritation in the mucus of the nose caused by external bio-particles and dust. There are other reasons too that may make you sneeze out. Some of the most common ones are:
- Sudden exposure to bright light
- A sudden fluctuation in the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere
- Getting any viral or bacterial infection
- Sudden exposure to a cold environment
The main reason behind us sneezing is to clear the nasal cavity. We sneeze to get rid of the mucus that is stuck in the cavity.
The mucosa of the nose is basically a soft palate. When a sneeze is initiated within us the tongue gets elevated. This elevation takes place to close the passage of the mouth. Since the closure done in this way is just a partial one, the air escapes from the nose as well as the mouth.
An interesting fact about sneezing is that it cannot happen when we are asleep. The reason behind is a simple one that the motor neurons are not active enough to be stimulated. The effect of this inability is that the reflex signals do not reach the brain.
Causes Of Sneezing:
Sneezing is generally not related to any serious underlying health problem. They are generally caused by various triggers. The common triggers are:
- Nasal irritants like bioparticles
- Corticosteroid inhaled can also make you sneeze
- As an effect of any drug withdrawal
- Other causes like trauma to the nose can make you go into fits of sneezing too
Sneezing caused because of allergies is the most common. This is caused as a response to a foreign organism like a virus. Sneezing that occurs under normal circumstances is a response against such foreign organisms that attack our body. It is a reaction of our body to these particles so that they are expelled out again.
There are more than 200 kinds of infection causing agents that can make us sneeze.
Taking Care Of Your Sneezes:
If these sneezes are getting in your way in your daily life, it is better to find out the underlying cause of this. A meeting with the doctor can help you in finding the answers that you have been seeking. Various over the counter drugs (OTC) and prescribed drugs are available in the market to help you feel relieved in such issues. These drugs are generally anti-histamine drugs that help in relieving the symptoms of the underlying cause. Since one of the most common causes of sneezing is stated as allergens, the most common drugs used for the same are loratadine (commercially Claritin) and Cetirizine (Commercially Zyrtec). There are various shots available for allergies that can relieve you from the constant problem of sneezing. These shots contain extracts of purified allergens. If sneezing is caused because of a situation like a cold or flu, then the options of its treatment remain very limited. In such cases, various nasal sprays can come in handy which are readily available in the markets now. One can also try taking anti-viral medicines to treat these conditions. During cold or flu, it is better to take rest and increase the fluid intake to relieve yourselves from issues of sneezing and fever.
If the reason behind these sneezes is not anything special, you can try to stop them on your own. The best way of doing so is by avoiding the triggers that cause it. Making simple changes in our daily lives can drastically reduce exposure to such irritants. If you have pets at home you can try cutting their hair more often. To get rid of the dust mites on sheets and linen, you can wash them in hot water (the temperature of the water should be over 130⁰ F or 54.4⁰C. One can also consider air filtration in their house by getting an air filter.
How Do We Sneeze?
When a considerable number of foreign particles reach our nostrils and goes all the way up to the nasal mucosa, histamines are released. Due to the release of histamines, we feel a sense of irritation in the nerve cells of the nose. This irritation signals the brain to initiate a sneeze. This transmission is done by the trigeminal nerve system. This results in a series of actions including activation of the Pharyngeal and tracheal muscles. This results in a larger opening of the mouth and nose cavity to release out air and bioparticles. Many organs of the upper body are involved in the action of sneezing. We also find a reflexive response in the throat, face, and chest. This reflexive action leads to contraction of a number of muscles in the body including the eyelids. This fact is the explanation for why we can’t sneeze with our eyes open (this is not true in all cases).
How To Sneeze On Command:
There are times when we want to sneeze it all out. The feeling of an unfinished sneezing can make you quite terrible. Below, we have illustrated various ways to help you to sneeze whenever you want.
Making the Nose To Itch Or Causing Irritation:
One of the funniest and at the same time reliable method is to tickle. Tickling can cause irritation. To cause such irritation, tickle the nostrils with a piece of paper or cloth (remember to do so at the back of the nostrils). Do not place it too deeply. You can try humming to amplify the effect in this case. The tickling sensation sends signals to the trigeminal nerves that make you sneeze.
Sudden Bright Light Exposure:
This method is also called phonetic sneezing. The trick in this method is that you have to suddenly expose yourself to an intensely bright light. Exposure to the sun is one of the best alternatives. This kind of reaction to bright light is hereditary and is found in around 33% of the population. At times, this trick might not work for other people. There are people who state of feeling a prickly sensation when standing under the sun suddenly.
Using Spices to Get A Sneeze Out:
Indian spices are not only famous because of their exotic taste, but they are also great helpers when it comes to making oneself sneeze. By far, this method works almost in every case. The best spice to get a sneeze out is ground pepper in all its variants including white, black and green. They are helpful because of their constituent piperine. Piperine is known to cause irritation which sends signals to the brain and leads to expulsion of air by sneezing in order to get rid of the agent causing irritation. Simply sniff a little amount of the spice. Please make sure not to inhale too deeply or it can cause burning sensations and even pain. This will make you sneeze is no time. The other spices that can be used to initiate a sneeze are cumin, coriander, and red pepper.
There are tips and tricks all over the place to make you sneeze. One of them is a very popular beauty tip. If you have tweezers you can try plucking a few useless hairs out. Not only does it shape your eyebrow, but it can also help in making you sneeze. This effect of sneezing is because of the irritation that plucking causes to the facial nerve and the nasal nerve. The effect of sneezing, in this case, is immediate. This method works for most of the people but there are chances it might not work in some cases.
Pulling Out Nose Hair:
Another tip from the grooming section is found to be helpful with getting a sneeze out. This method can be quite painful at first but it is found to work wonders as far as sneezing is concerned. When hair is pulled out of the nasal cavity, there is a stimulation of the trigeminal nerves that starts sending signals to the brain to initiate the process of sneezing. The lining of the nose is very sensitive and can be very easily affected by such tension caused.
Licking The Roof Of The Mouth:
In this method, you have to lick the upper roof of the mouth. The entire area is to be covered. This method can be a bit time taking as it generally takes up to a few minutes to find out the triggering spot. Once you are successful in doing that, the trigeminal nerves come into action to initiate a sneeze.
Rubbing The Bridge Of The Nose:
It is yet another method to initiate the activation of the trigeminal nerves. Use your finger to cause a downward motion. You need to keep repeating the process until you feel a ticklish sensation. This tickling sensation is the sign of the upcoming sneeze. This method may result in the drainage of the nose. You can simply apply pressure to get rid of the watery sensation in the nose.
We suggest another trick where all you have to do is to eat chocolate. The sneezing that occurs due to eating chocolate is called photic sneezing reflex and the reason and mechanism for the same is yet to be found out. The sneezing depends upon the percentage of chocolate that has been consumed. If you are allergic to chocolates it is better to not use this method. This method tends to work more on people who are not regular chocolate eaters.
You can drink your way up to sneezing. This method works because of thepresent in the drinks which change quickly to carbon dioxide and is released out.
We all are familiar with the various episodes of sneezing when we come in a sudden exposure of a cold wind. That trick seems to work well and thus you can try adjusting the temperature of the surrounding to make it a little cold and thus get out a sneeze.
Sneezing Using A Qtip:
Another trick can be traced while going down our memory lanes. Back in those childhood days, the trick of tickling someone’s nose with an ear swab to make them sneeze used to be very popular. This trick actually works in initiating a sneeze. All you have to do is to tickle the back of your nose gently. This might make your nose watery but it is all for the good cause because the trick doesn’t work well when the nose is too dry. If you are using this trick for the first time, then it might be a little time taking.
Sneezing To Clear Out Sinuses:
Sinuses are the hollow cavities that are present in the skull. There are various theories that are presented as to suggest what their function is like humidification of air or enhancement of the voice. These sinuses contain soft pink tissues with a very little amount of mucus in the healthy state but when a person suffers from sinusitis the mucus present in the cavities increases and the tissues are inflamed.
Sneezing relieves the problem of blockage as the air is expelled out the mucous is also drained out. Thus, sneezing is said to be helpful in sinusitis. You can do so by sniffing up just a little spice.
Is It Bad To Make Oneself Sneeze A Lot:
Till date, no scientific literature has been released that claims that sneezing too much is bad for health. One can use any method to make themselves sneeze and as much as they want. Although, one must know that sneezing puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the circulatory system, the digestive system and the pulmonary system. Thus, it is advisable to be careful. Although, sneezing generally does not cause any such problems in the body.
Why Can’t I Sneeze:
There are known cases where patients who have just recovered from stroke lose the ability to sneeze for some period of time. It generally happens to the people whose medulla oblongata is affected because of the stroke. If either of the left or the right side of the medulla oblongata is affected, the patients lose their ability to sneeze. They only feel a ticklish feeling running down the nose but they can’t sneeze. It takes almost a year to recuperate from such a situation.
So, this was all from our side on sneezing. We hope to have answered all your questions. In case of other lingering issues, requests and suggestions, please write to us in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to respond. Have a good life and live it beautifully.