7 Fun Facts About Sneezing You Probably Didn’t Know

African American woman sneeze blowing nose

Sneezing, or sternutation as it’s scientifically called, is quite common and everyone has experienced a sneezing fit at some point. Many times you can point to the direct cause of sneezing. The usual suspects are related to allergies or having a cold or the flu. But, there are other factors which can cause you to sneeze as well.

Here are some surprising facts about sneezing:

1. When you sneeze, your sneeze can travel as fast as 100 miles per hour and spread within a five-foot radius and as far as 30 feet. Maybe this is why we are susceptible to catching viruses when others are sneezing around us. When you sneeze, you literally sneeze far and wide.

READ: Don’t Touch That! 8 Places With The Most Germs

2. Your nose sometimes needs a reboot and sneezing is a natural way to reset your nasal passages. When you sneeze it helps to reset the environment in your nasal cavities. Bad particles which are trapped are loosened through the nose from the pressure that occurs when you sneeze. According to Science Daily, this process happens when biochemical signals are present that help with the beating of the cilia (microscopic hairs) which line our nasal cavities.

3. Sunlight can make you sneeze. There are the obvious culprits which can cause sneezing, like being exposed  to pepper, feathers, or  you may have a cold or allergies. But, another factor which can cause sneezing is bright sunlight. According to informal surveys, 17 to 35 percent of people sneeze when they are exposed to sunlight. The term associated with this reaction is called photic sneeze reflex. Scientists haven’t figured out why this happens but believe it may have something to do with a message the brain receives to shrink the pupils when bright light is present and this crosses paths with the same messaging which causes your brain to send a message to you to sneeze.