(WHTM) – Everyone has experienced a sneeze — whether it’s from allergies, an illness or just a random one that seemed to appear out of nowhere. But have you ever wondered what happens to your body during that split-second sneeze?
A sneeze, by definition, is a sudden, forceful, uncontrolled burst of air through the nose and mouth.
According to the Library of Congress, a sneeze begins with a sensation similar to a tickle inside the nerve endings of your nose. These nerve endings send a signal to your brain to tell it that it needs to get rid of something that is irritating the lining of the nose.
After the signal is sent, you end up taking a deep breath and holding it, while the pressure inside your lungs builds. You then close your eyes, your tongue presses against the roof of your mouth and you let a huge breath out of both your mouth and your nose.
All of the above happens within a split second. The speed of a sneeze can reach in excess of 100 mph and can produce more than 100,000 droplets, according to the American Lung Association.
Many factors can contribute to sneezing, such as allergies, the common cold, triggers to dust, air pollution, or even spicy foods. Sometimes people sneeze when they are going through drug withdrawals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you always cover sneezes when they occur, as they are some of the easiest ways to spread germs from person to person.
Sneezes can spread diseases up to nearly 25 feet in some cases, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is also recommended to sneeze into the bend of your elbow and not your hand.
If you do end up sneezing into your hand, make sure to thoroughly wash afterward.