33 Facts About Sneezes: The Ultimate Sneeze Guide

Whether you need to win a bet with friends or are worried about the number of exposed sneezes in your office, we are here to help. At Woosh, we have put together the ultimate sneeze fact sheet that brings you the weird and interesting facts that will tickle your nose. 

Join us as we countdown 33 sneeze facts, from the interesting to the weird, we have it all. 

1. You Can’t Stop a Sneeze 

We don’t tend to think about sneezing much, it’s just a natural bodily response. Except for those moments when the room is silent, and we can feel a tickle brewing that just won’t go away. So, even if you’re in a crowded cinema, engrossed in a tense villain-revealing scene, there is no way to put a stop to your oncoming sneeze. 

2. A Sneeze Produces Up To 40,000 Droplets

Did you know that when you sneeze, you release up to a staggering 40,000 droplets into the air from your nose and mouth? This is why sneezing into your fingers just doesn’t cut it. Not only could the droplets escape between the gaps in your fingers, but you’re also likely carrying and spreading the droplets across whatever surface you touch throughout the day. Always remember to sneeze into the crook of your elbow for safety! 

3. Sneezes are FAST 

If bodily functions were superheroes, sneezing would be the Flash. Sneezes are so fast that they expel from the body at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, according to Patti Wood. This is much faster than coughing, which only travels at 50mph. Not that it’s a competition. 

4. Silent Sneezes Don’t Exist

It’s impossible to sneeze silently, no matter how much we may try when in the middle of a quiet office. This comes down to the speed of a sneeze once again. Of course, with air being expelled from your nose and mouth at such high speeds, it is bound to make some noise. 

5. 4 Sneezes a Day is Average

Some days, you may not notice that you sneeze at all, while others, you feel like chopping your nose off because it hasn’t stopped. We doubt you’re keeping a tally of your daily sneezes, but 4 sneezes a day is the average. 

6. Sleeping Means No Sneezing 

Have you ever had your amazing, lottery-winning dream interrupted by a sneeze? That’s because we don’t sneeze while we’re asleep. When we go into a REM sleep cycle, our bodies shut down in relaxation, and our muscles are essentially paralysed. With your muscles not functioning in their usual way, it is impossible to sneeze.

7. A Sneeze Can Skip a Heartbeat 

Well, not really, but also, yes. When you sneeze, pressure in your body builds, which causes a decrease in blood flow to the heart. This causes your regular heartbeat to momentarily adjust while it gets back to normal. So, while it doesn’t technically skip a beat, it does feel like it, and your heart is directly affected, no matter how briefly. 

8. Sneezing is a Workout 

If regular gym trips are not in your diary, don’t worry; your nose is at least getting its regular workout in. Every time you sneeze, the muscles in your throat, chest, diaphragm, and abdomen get a workout. 

9. Deep Breaths to Lessen the Blow

While it might be impossible to stop a sneeze that’s already brewing in its tracks, you can lessen the blow. Deep breaths through the mouth can lessen the ‘turbulence’ inside your nose and minimise the impending sneeze. 

10. Your Nostrils Affect the Volume of a Sneeze 

If you hate the way you sneeze, you probably have your nostrils to thank for that. This is because the volume of your sneeze can actually be affected by the size of your nostrils. Think of it like shouting into a small cupboard compared to a large hall. The larger the space, the bigger the echo.

11. Bright Lights can Trigger a Sneeze

If you ever find yourself needing to sneeze, but it just won’t come, light is your friend. Sunlight or even artificial illumination can trigger a sneeze. This is a photic sneeze reflex; however, it might not work for everybody. It is estimated that up to 35% of the world’s population has a photic sneeze reflex. 

12. Sneezing Clears the Nose

Like when you need to clear your throat, sneezing is a natural defence mechanism. When the membranes lining our noses become irritated, our nerve signals send word to our chest and throat to do something about it. The answer? A sneeze! 

13. Sneezing is the Biggest Culprit for Infectious Diseases 

Need we explain more on this? If you don’t catch your sneeze and wash your hands thoroughly, sneezing is the number one cause of infectious disease spread. Bugs, like the flu, can spread rapidly if you’re not catching, binning, and killing it. 

14. Your Tongue Could Stop a Sneeze

We’re not sure how well this works, but pressing your tongue into the roof of your mouth can allegedly stop a sneeze. Some people claim it’s the force of the pressure, but we know it works for a brain freeze, so why not give it a try? 

15. It Rarely Stops at One Sneeze

Have you ever noticed that when you sneeze, it usually takes two or three achoos before you feel better? This is due to the cause of the first sneeze. Your body will act in defence of whatever is causing the irritation until the problem goes away. So if it takes one sneeze, three, or even more, your body will keep going until the coast is clear. 

16. Iguanas are the Sneeziest Animal

Animals sneeze just like humans, but iguanas and other reptiles are by far the sneeziest on the planet. This is because high amounts of salt are a common by-product of a lizard’s digestive system. Iguanas rid themselves of this excess salt through sneezes!

17. The World Record for Sneezing is 976 Days

A British woman holds the Guinness world record for the longest sneezing fit, which was recorded as a whopping 976 days. Starting on 13 January 1981 and randomly stopping on 16 September 1983, poor Donna Griffiths could not catch a break for over two years. It’s unsure what caused the sneezing to start or stop, but for the first 365 days, Donna sneezed an estimated one million times. 

18. Joint Sneezing Might Be Bad Luck

Okay, we know this isn’t a fact, but it is a fact that some people believe it. Old wives' tales will tell you that a sneeze is a sign of good luck. That is until you sneeze at the same time as somebody else, then it is a bad omen. 

19. Myth: Sneezes are Souls

Ever wondered why we say ‘bless you’ when somebody sneezes? Well, there are a number of beliefs as to how and why this started. One common belief is that a sneeze is our soul or even the devil leaving our body. So, we need to bless the sneezer! 

20. Sneezing is Contagious, like Yawning

Have you ever caught a yawn from somebody at work? Or even the thought or talk of a yawn sent you into a deep inhalation and stretch? Perhaps even reading this has sent your jaw dropping once or twice! Well, some people report feeling the same contagious symptoms for sneezes!

21. Your Nose Produces 1-2 Pints of Mucus a Day 

You might not notice any mucus in your nose until it’s running, and you’re incapable of stopping sniffling. So, you might be surprised to learn that your nose produces between one and two points of mucus every day. When your nose is inflamed and you’re feeling under the weather, that number can actually double, hence the need for tissues.

22. Full Stomachs Can Trigger a Sneeze

Have you ever heard of ‘snatiation’? This name is the combination of sneeze and satiation and is given to the condition for people who fall into sneezing fits after they’ve had a large meal. It’s still a relatively misunderstood condition, but if you experience sneezing after mealtimes, this could be why. 

23. Sneezing is an Eyes Closed Task 

Yes, your body will automatically close your eyes when it's time to sneeze. But, it is a common misconception that your eyeballs will fly out if you force them open during a sneeze. It’s just an automatic reflex demanded by our brains when we sneeze. 

24. A Sneeze Lingers for Minutes 

Covering your mouth when you sneeze is important, but no matter how good of a job you do, it is likely that some particles will escape. These droplets can then remain airborne for up to 10 minutes and can likely travel across the whole room. So, proper sanitation is always a good idea. 

25. The Loudest Sneeze in the World 

The world record for the loudest sneeze in the world is held by a man in China, Yi Yang. His loudest sneeze is recorded as being 176 decibels. For context, an airhorn reaches volumes of 129 decibels, so that truly is a glass-shattering sneeze!

26. Loud Sneezes = Big Lungs 

You might have heard that athletes and singers have a much larger lung capacity, but did you know that this can also increase the volume of your sneezes? 

27. Holding a Sneeze Can Be Dangerous 

We’ve gathered that sneezing is pretty powerful because it’s a build-up of pressure in your respiratory system. So, when you hold in a sneeze, you are containing all this pressure inside your body, which is potentially quite dangerous. When trying to hold in a sneeze, it is possible to burst blood vessels, rupture eardrums, break ribs, injure your diaphragm, and even cause a brain aneurysm. 

28. Plucking Hairs Can Cause Sneezes

There is a nerve in your face, known as the trigeminal nerve, that extends around the eye and down towards the nose. It’s because of this nerve that some people experience the need to sneeze when they plush their eyebrows!

29. Your Mucus Colour Tells a Story 

When you sneeze or have a runny nose, you probably don’t look too closely at the tissue after you’ve blown your nose. But the colour of your mucus can give you a good idea of what's going on with your body. Clear mucus is normal, but yellow signifies an infection in the body. Green snot is also a sign of a slightly worse infection. Red mucus is a sign of your airways being dry or damaged, and black mucus is common for smokers. 

30. Fish CANNOT Sneeze 

If you weren’t sure before, now you know. Fish categorically cannot sneeze! 

31. Sneezing is Euphoric 

Finishing a good sneeze is pretty satisfying, and this is due to the small number of endorphins that are released. These endorphins travel to the brain to activate the pleasure centres, which in turn gives you that feel-good sensation when you sneeze. 

32. Astronauts Still Sneeze in Space - But it’s Not Easy

Of course, astronauts still need to sneeze even while in space, but it takes a lot more thought and preparation. If in a space suit, they need to carefully aim low to avoid the spray of mucus on their helmet visor, which would be impossible to clean while outside of the ship. It also makes spreading germs much harder to avoid as sneezes will stay suspended without gravity for much longer than they would on Earth. 

33. Pomeranians Reverse Sneeze

Did you know that a reverse sneeze is a thing? It mainly affects pomeranian dogs, and it sounds like a choking snort. It happens when the dog quickly inhales through the nostrils rather than pushing air out through the nose. 

Protect Your Communal Spaces from Sneezes

Now, you know everything there is to know about sneezing. All 33 facts, whether you cared to know them or not! So, you’re likely feeling a little squeamish and won’t look at anyone sneezing the same way again. 

With the help of Woosh Washrooms, you can curb the spread of 40,000 sneeze droplets as much as possible. We are your trusted washroom servicing partner here to bring you commercial washroom solutions. From hand sanitisers and soap dispensers to air purification systems, we can help you minimise germ spread in your building. 

Get in touch today to find out more! 

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