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sneezing; colds; allergies; flu; allergy; sneeze;


What causes sneezing?

aaachooo man!!Almost anything that irritates or tickles inside your nose can cause you to sneeze.

  • Dust and pollen can cause sneezing - sometimes this is due to hayfever.
  • Cold air, pets and pepper are also common causes of sneezing.

Of course when you have a cold you can also sneeze a lot as the lining of your nose is swollen and sensitive. Sometimes your eyes water too. Not pleasant is it!

  • If you have a cold – a sneeze can spread germs a very long way (over a metre). Cover your nose when you sneeze. It is best if you can use a tissue, then put the tissue in a bin, or flush it down the lavatory and don't forget to wash your hands.

Some people find that they sneeze when they go into sunshine – it seems the bright light stimulates their eyes and that triggers a sneeze.

What happens when you sneeze?

achoo - excuse me pleaseDid you know that sneezing needs a whole lot of cooperation from your body?

  • Your chest muscles expand your chest and your diaphragm (dye-a-fram) muscles contract to pull lots of air into your chest.
  • The muscles in your vocal chords and in the back of your throat contract (squeeze together).
  • Your abdominal (belly) muscles and your chest muscles contract.
  • Even your eyelid muscles get in on the act by closing your eyes!

another sneezeThey all work together to try and get rid of whatever is tickling the inside of your nose.

They work so well that the sneeze can send tiny particles of air and mucus flying out at speeds of over 150km per hour. And that's really moving!

Some interesting stuff about sneezing

  • a BIG sneezeYou know how sometimes you can't get the sneeze out and you're breathing in and going, "Ah—Ah—Ah.."? Well to help you finish the sneeze with a big "Chooo" try looking at the light from a light bulb - not the sun as you could damage your eyes. One in three of you will then be able to sneeze. This is called photic sneezing. Photic is a word that means light.
  • Some cultures believe that sneezing is a sign of good luck.
  • Some cultures believe that the soul leaves the body for an instant when you sneeze and so people around you will say, "Bless you", "God bless you to keep you safe", or "Good health" in whatever language they speak.
  • Some Asian cultures believed that sneezing was a sign that someone was talking about you behind your back.

Sneezing in different cultures

What sound do you make when you sneeze?

  • In English we usually say "Atishoo or A-ch-oo".
  • In French the sound is "Atchoum."
  • "Hapsu" in Italian.
  • "Hakushon" in Japanese.
  • "Atjo" in Swedish.

Of course we all sound the same when we sneeze. It depends on the language you speak how you write the sound of a sneeze.

Sometimes in English we may write a sneeze as "A-tissue" Which is just what you need to mop up a sneeze!

What kids say

  • "You should always cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, especially if you have a cold." Danny
  • "My mum says, "Gesundheit" when we sneeze. Mum's family came from Germany."
  • "When I sneeze my eyes always water too." Simone
  • When you sneeze
    You say, "Achoo, achoo, achoo!"
    When someone else sneezes
    You say "God bless you – achoo, achoo!"
    When you sneeze
    You need a tissue, achoo, achoo!
    By Jayden, Liam and Bradie
  • "I think it's really funny when my kitten sneezes. He looks so surprised!" Carole
  • "If you need to sneeze
    But it won't come out
    Just take a walk
    And look about
    For a light bulb
    Look at it and the sneeze will come out!"
    By Ashlee

Dr Kim says

Dr KimSneezing shows that the nose is being irritated. If you sneeze a lot then talk to your doctor. It may be that you are allergic to something and some medicine could help.





Uh oh I've got the sneezes.
I splutter, sneeze and cough
I oohh and ahhh and choo, my nose
Feels like it will sneeze off!
My mum says 'Bless you' to me
After every single sneeze.
My eyes and throat are feeling sore.
As again I start to wheeze.
Someone told me if you sneeze
And your eyes don't close
They fall right out and hang there
Dangling on your nose!


Actually when you sneeze you always close your eyes - but that is not because your eyes might pop out - eyes are held in place by very strong muscles and they cannot pop out, so don't worry!


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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