Achoo! We all sneeze sometimes. Sneezing is a reflex that your body does automatically. That means you cannot make yourself sneeze or stop one once it has started. When you sneeze, your body is trying to get rid of bad things in your nose, such as bacteria. You have extra germs when you have a cold, so you sneeze a lot more. You might also sneeze when you smell pepper!
Inside your nose, there are hundreds of tiny hairs. These hairs filter the air you breathe. Sometimes dust and pollen find their way through these hairs and bother your nasal passages. The nerves in the lining of your nose tell your brain that something is invading your body.
Your brain, lungs, nose, mouth, and the muscles of your upper body work together to blow away the invaders with a sneeze. When you sneeze, germs from your nose get blown into the air. Using a tissue or “sneezing into your sleeve” captures most of these germs. It is very important to wash your hands after you sneeze into them, especially during cold and flu season.
Do you ever sneeze when you walk into bright sunlight? Some people say that happens to them often. Scientists believe the UV rays of the sun irritate the nose lining of these people so they sneeze.
If someone nearby sneezes, remember to tell them “Gesundheit!” That is a funny-looking word which is pronounced “gezz-oont-hite.” It is the German word that wishes someone good health after sneezing.