Causes and Symptoms (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
During the breathing process, the lung part of the chest cavity is expanded and air is allowed to flow in. When impulses that cause excitation reach a threshold level in the nasal lining, a message is transferred to the sneeze reflex center of the brain via the sensory nerves. At that point, the stimulus provides the chest muscles with the signal to convulse and therefore squeeze the lungs. The contracted muscles in the pharynx block the exit of the air from the mouth and instead detour it through the nasal cavity and out into the atmosphere. The phenomenon of genuine sneezing cannot be performed voluntarily and, at the same time, cannot be easily suppressed. In fact, suppression may create an increase in pressure in the acoustic part of the body, with occasional serious results.
During inhalation, air is inserted through the nostrils, heated to the body temperature, humidified, and finally filtered of foreign contaminants (such as bacteria and dust particles) before it enters the lungs. When the air contains a large quantity of particles, such as dust or pollen during windy conditions, or is drier or colder than expected, sneezing takes place. The main reason for this reaction is irritation of the nerve endings, which is temporarily relieved by the explosive blowing of air during sneezing. The process is intensified in both children and adults by several nasal disorders, such as congestion attributed to bacterial...
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Treatment and Therapy (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
In a way similar to coughing, in which air is expelled through the mouth, sneezing has a protective role in breathing. The hairs inside the nostrils, known as cilia, serve as the filtering device and, when they cannot trap the contaminants, as the instigators for the irritation of the nerve endings. Their presence is therefore instrumental in protecting the windpipe from the solid particles that are suspended in air. Parents may have a young child blow his or her nose in order to remove the trapped particles in the nasal mucus. This action should be performed with the minimum damage of the capillaries, which may collapse and lead to a nosebleed, possibly followed by an infection.
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Perspective and Prospects (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Sneezing is very important because it serves as the first weapon of the respiratory system’s defense against invading foreign particles. The search goes on for inhalers and other medications to relieve the effects of sneezing, as well as for various means to release the pressure created by the common cold and rhinoviruses. The traditional methods of soothing nerve endings with steam and other vaporizers are still dependable and help in avoiding the subsequent spread of the more serious viral infections such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis.
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For Further Information: (Magill’s Medical Guide, Sixth Edition)
Adler, Tina. “The Radical Theory of Sneezing.” Environmental Health Perspectives 113, no. 11 (November 1, 2005): A736.
Karpa, Kelly Dowhower. “The Assault on Allergies: From Diagnostics to Treatments.” Drug Topics (June, 2000): 12S-16S.
Knight, Allan. Asthma and Hay Fever: How to Relieve Wheezing and Sneezing. New York: Arco, 1981.
McCarthy, Robert. “New Approaches to Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma.” Patient Care 34, no. 19 (October 15, 2000): 108-118.
Ross-Flanigan, Nancy. “Nothing to Sneeze At.” Health 14, no. 3 (April, 2000): 102-104.
Voelker, Rebecca. “Allergies: More than Just Sniffles and Sneezes.” Business and Health 18, no. 4 (April, 2000): 19-25.
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Sneezing (Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine)
Sneezing, also known as sternutation, is the response of the mucous membrane of the nose to an irritant or foreign body that causes allergy in a hypersensitive person.
A sneeze is an involuntary explosive burst of air from the nose and mouth that removes offending material from the nasal passages.
Causes & symptoms
Sneezing can occur from a number of causes, or may itself be a symptom of an underlying condition, most likely an allergy or common cold. Sneezing may simply be triggered by a small foreign object or substance in the nose, including particles of pepper, smoke, irritating chemical fumes, or gases. It may also be a symptom of a common cold, upper respiratory tract infection, hay fever, or other allergies to pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, dander, grass, or other substances. Additional potential causes of sneezing include withdrawal from opiate drugs, inhaling corticosteroids, whooping cough, or anaphylaxis. Many people sneeze when they step outdoors into bright sunlight. Others report sneezing whenever they tweeze their eyebrows.
In a January 2000 paper in the journal Neurology, Dr. Mark Hersch of Australia's New South Wales University reported that some stroke patients find...
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