I could quite likely be one of the most blessed persons on Earth.
We say “Bless you” whenever we hear anyone sneeze. It could be someone sitting at the table with you, in the next pew, over by the bananas, walking down the street. We don’t have to know them or be near them; if we hear a sneeze we bless the sneezer. They don’t even have to hear you bless them for us to feel perfectly satisfied. I even bless myself when no one is around to do it for me.
Sneezing, also known as sternutation, is how we clear our nasal passages of any kind of irritants from allergies, an infection or cold air. It is also something that happens when there has been nose trauma or during drug withdrawal. There are a variety of conditions that cause sneezing.
Photic sneezing is an inherited condition, which is caused by looking into bright light. My Mom may have had a version of this. Whenever she felt a sneeze coming on or just the need to sneeze because of a tickle in her nose, she would just look into the sun and sneeze away.
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the membranes of the nose, which causes one to sneeze.
Gustatory rhinitis is caused by eating spicy or hot foods or drinking alcohol. There are no health concerns but there is no cure.
Sneezing is your body’s way of removing irritants from your nose or sinuses. I can attest to this since I just filled the pepper shakers and even though I was very careful I got a snoot full which brought on an immediate sneezing binge.
A sneeze is a powerful, involuntary expulsion of air, a semiautonomous reflex, of which you have limited control. You might slow it down but stopping a sneeze, which often happens suddenly and without warning, is highly unlikely. Trying to hold it back is not good for your eardrums. While sneezing can be quite annoying, it’s not usually the result of any serious health problems. Blowing your nose will often dislodge the annoyance and limit the number of sneezes.
I have what is called Snatiation, which is sneezing after eating. It is also incurable but there is very little information associated with this condition. Some have said it has something to do with the feeling of fullness after eating a large meal. I beg to differ on that note. I can have a bowl of soup followed by a sneezing jag or a full course meal of liver and onions, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. I can grab a slice of toast or a bagel or enjoy bacon, two eggs over easy, home fries and two slices of toast with jam and will have a bout of sneezing. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what I eat, how much I eat or when I eat it.
Of course, having an attack of uncontrollable sneezing also creates another no longer always controllable condition so I must always be cognizant of the most “direct route.” But that’s a story for another day.