What makes us sneeze? Is it dangerous?
Ancient belief held that sneezing was essential, as it drove out evil spirits. Modern day explanations are nowhere near as intriguing. Sneezing is caused by irritation of the mucus membrane inside the nose. The record for a sneezing attack is held by a teenage girl who started sneezing in 1981 and sneezed regularly until 1983. She sneezed for more than 977 days at invervals of around five minutes.
Sneezing can be caused by dust, pollen, pepper, powders and other nasal irritants. It can also be caused by viral infections like the common cold, drug withdrawal. Some people who are sensitive to sunlight will sneeze in the morning when the sun first comes into a room. This is known as photic sneezing.
It is sometimes said that sneezing stops the heart because of the sudden rise in pressure within the chest that occurs in violent sneezing attacks. This is not true. However, it is true that sneezing can be dangerous. When we sneeze our eyes close and we can’t prevent this as it is a protective reflex action. So, if you were driving, flying a plane or operating machinery, sneezing could be very dangerous.