Fact of the Day
Sneezing is a lot more violent than most people think. What the body is doing is attempting to clear the air passageways leading up to and out of the nose. Sneezes are projected with a convulsion so great that the sneeze itself is expelled from the body at over 100 mph. If that isn't enough for you, a sneeze can amass to about 5000 droplets of cold-spreading spew. Think you're OK if you're standing ten feet from a sneezing person? Think again, a contagious cold can be spread via sneeze from a whopping 12 foot distance.
Because the nerves for the nose and eyes are in such close proximity of one another, something called the photic reflex occurs. When suddenly exposed to bright light, the blinking reflex confuses the sinus area, in turn making the nose react. Photic sneezing occurs in 1/4 of humans, mainly when people go from the dark indoors to the bright sunlight outside. Maybe it was a sneezing fit keeping man in the darkness in Plato's "The Allegory of the Cave."
I found out that something I thought was a myth about sneezing is actually true. It is totally possible to break one's ribs while sneezing and/or coughing, in fact, it's a pretty common thing. There are extreme cases where people with brittle bone disease have broken upwards of 30 bones during a sneeze and also cases where in frail old age a sneeze was the last thing some people could take.
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