You sneeze and your body reacts. Your eyes squeeze closed and your heart seems to jump. Did your heart just stop?
Sneezing is one of the many wonders of the human body, another one of our protective reflexes.
When something irritates the inside of our nose — such as dust or pollen — the tiny nerve endings inside our nose send a message to our brain that in turns sends out messages to numerous parts of our body to facilitate the sneeze.
Here are a few fun facts you probably didn’t know about sneezing:
1. Your sneezes travel up to 100 miles per hour.
2. Their germ-ridden spray can land pretty far away.
3. Sneezing is a workout
4. Your heart does not stop when you sneeze
5. Sneezing is our body rebooting
6. Sneezing is a reflex
7. The color of your mucus means something
8. A single sneeze can produce up to 40,000 droplets
9. Your eyes will close automatically when you sneeze
10. Trying to hold in a sneeze can hurt
11. You can’t sneeze when you’re asleep
12. There is a reason you sneeze multiple times in a row
Why do people say, “God bless you,” after someone sneezes?
There are varying accounts as to the origin of this response.
One belief is that it originated in Rome when the bubonic plague was raging through Europe. One of the symptoms of the plague was coughing and sneezing, and it is believed that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) suggested saying “God bless you” after a person sneezed in hopes that this prayer would protect them from an otherwise certain death.
The expression may have also originated from superstition.
Some people believe that the custom of asking for God’s blessing began when ancient man thought that the soul was in the form of air and resided in the body’s head. A sneeze, therefore, might accidentally expel the spirit from the body unless God blessed you and prevented this from occurring. Some ancient cultures also thought that sneezing forced evil spirits out of the body endangering others because these spirits might now enter their bodies. The blessing was bestowed to protect both the person sneezed and others around him.