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Why Do We Sneeze?

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Last updated date: 04th Mar 2024
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Scientific Reason Behind Sneezing

Sneezing is one of the natural reflexes that the human body shows to remove unwanted particles from the nasal passage. It is an action to clear the nasal passage. You might have experienced that our noses start to tickle and we accumulate a lot of air in our lungs and then sneeze. Why do we do this? Let us find out.


What is Sneezing?

Sneezing is a natural phenomenon that the human body performs when there is an irritant, smoke, foreign particle, pollens, or anything allergic has entered our nasal passage. The immunity system of a human recognises the foreign particles and initiates a stimulus.


In this stimulus, the lining of the nose gets tingled by the presence of such particles and pathogens. This tingling sensation causes sneezing. We inhale a lot of air at once and then exhale it with force through the mouth and nose.


A Boy Sneezing Suddenly due to Foreign Particles in his Nose


A Boy Sneezing Suddenly due to Foreign Particles in his Nose


This is a natural process of cleaning the nasal passage and sometimes the lungs. During this action, the tongue touches its roof, the muscles in the oral cavity and lungs brace for the action and our eyes are shut. All these happen within a second or two.


What Makes Us Sneeze?

The things that can make us sneeze are as follows:


  • Pathogens or germs

  • Pollen grains

  • Dust

  • Pollution

  • Spice or foreign particles

  • Animal dander

  • Mould, etc.


A Man Sneezing due to Cold


A Man Sneezing due to Cold


These minute things are considered to be foreign particles by our immunity system. When detected, an immune response is triggered. Hence, sneezing is a natural process of eliminating these particles from the nasal passages of the human body.


How to Stop Sneezing?

Sneezing one or two times is natural. There is no need to find a remedy for it. If it is happening to you multiple times along with other visible symptoms, then it should be brought under medical supervision.


Here is what medical experts suggest to stop sneezing.


  • Learning what triggers sneezing in you and avoiding them.

  • Treatment of allergies is a must.

  • Take environmental protection such as masks, etc.

  • Blow your nose voluntarily to get rid of foreign particles.


Do You Know?

  • We close our eyes most of the time when we sneeze. It is practically not possible to open our eyes and sneeze.

  • The speed of sneezing can travel at a speed of 160 km/hr.

  • The spraying radius of sneezing can go up to 5 feet.

  • We are unable to sneeze when we are sleeping as the nerves that trigger sneezing also rest.

  • Sneezing releases endorphins, hormones that make us feel good.


Tips for Parents

Explain what a sneeze looks like and how it differs from coughing and hiccups. Kids will understand the difference. They will also learn the scientific reason behind sneezing. They will also be able to explain why they are sneezing to their parents.

FAQs on Why Do We Sneeze?

1. How can you make yourself sneeze?

If something is irritating your nose, you can tingle your nose with a soft cloth and cause sneezing. This is how to make yourself sneeze. However, doctors recommend not triggering sneezing and letting it happen automatically.

2. How fast is a sneeze?

The air in sneezing can travel as fast as 160 km in an hour. The air comes with a huge force as our lungs contract very fast and the muscles prepare themselves accordingly.

3. Why do we sneeze due to allergies?

An allergic reaction is triggered by a foreign contaminant. It can also happen if we are suffering from the flu. Sneezing enables us to clear our nasal passages and throats during such reactions and helps in breathing.