What actually happens during the sneezing process?Is this just a tickling of the cilia?
Another name for sneezing is sternutation. When we sneeze, it is because our bodies are trying to remove whatever it is that is irritating our noses. We may sneeze because we have a cold or it could be related to an allergen, such as pollen or mold. There are muscles involved in the sneezing process such as the abdominal muscles, the muscles in our chest, the muscles in our throat and vocal cords, and the diaphragm. The first thing that happens is nerve impulses are sent to the brain, which tells the brain that something is irritating our respiratory tract. Sneezing is a reflex reaction and involuntary. Air is inhaled, and then exhaled with a great deal of force.
Yes that is essentially what happens. When a foreign object not meant to be inside your nose, or when there is too much mucus build up affecting your ability to breathe, you have a autonomic protective reflex to expel it. Sunlight can also cause a sneeze called photic sneezing. About one third of people do this, and it is genetic.
There are actually quite a few muscles involved with a sneeze: your abdomen muscles, chest muscles, your diaphragm, vocal chord muscles, the muscles at the back of your throat, and your eyelid muscles. They all work together to create the right amount of force to expel whatever is causing the irritation.