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Quiz: The Facts on Sneezing

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"Achoo" is the sound of a sneeze heard 'round the world.

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"Achoo" is the sound of a sneeze heard 'round the world.

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Your expression for a sneeze depends on where you come from. English-speaking sneezers say "achoo," while the French exclaim "atchoum," and Filipinos declare "ha-ching." The Japanese sneeze sounds like "hakashun."

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One way to avoid a sneeze is to wear dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

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One way to avoid a sneeze is to wear dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

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Whether it's the flashing bulbs of paparazzi or the blazing sun, bright light can trigger the nerves that cause sneezing. One in four people has this, called a photic sneeze reflex. Your great disguise will also help keep sneeze-sparking pollen out of your eyes. But adding a fake moustache may blow your cover: It could tickle your tiny nose hairs.

Which Thomas Edison patent is associated with sneezing?

Which Thomas Edison patent is associated with sneezing?

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It may be the world's most famous sneeze: The earliest existing copyrighted motion picture in the U.S. shows Edison Manufacturing employee Fred Ott sneezing after taking a pinch of snuff. The short film was made for, and played on, Edison's kinetoscope. The inventor predicted his device would "do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear."

A spray of dead nasal skin cells is fired off when you sneeze.

A spray of dead nasal skin cells is fired off when you sneeze.

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A forceful sneeze can send mucus flying from your nose. The thin skin that lines the inside of your nose make as much as 2 pints of the slimy stuff each day. They defend the airway and lungs by trapping irritants such as dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. When you sneeze, these invaders are sent out with your mucus.

If you routinely sneeze after a big meal, you may be:

If you routinely sneeze after a big meal, you may be:

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Better not bite off more than you can "achoo" if snatiation runs in your family. If you have this medical condition, you'd be wise to snack, not snarf.

Responding to a sneeze with "God bless you" has its roots in:

Responding to a sneeze with "God bless you" has its roots in:

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The origin of this tradition is mixed. Pope Gregory VII may have called on God to protect sneezers from the bubonic plague. Our early ancestors may have been worried about releasing their souls in sneezes. Others believed sneezes would carry off evil spirits. Whether "God bless you" (English), "Banish the omen" (Greek), or "Live" (Hindu), the sneeze is recognized worldwide.

You're more likely to sneeze right after sex than while dreaming about it.

You're more likely to sneeze right after sex than while dreaming about it.

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For some people, having sex can bring on a sneeze. Simply thinking about sex has others gasping for air and grasping for tissues. But when you snooze, you lose the reflex that compels you to sneeze.  

Which is fastest?

Which is fastest?

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You can clock a powerful sneeze at about 100 mph! Cheetahs run full-out between 70 and 72 mph. At around 24 mph, one of the fastest men on the planet would be left eating dust and mucus.

What's the right thing to do when you feel a sneeze coming on?

What's the right thing to do when you feel a sneeze coming on?

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While good manners once called for catching sneezes in the hand, public health officials now warn that germs left behind can transfer to people or surfaces you touch soon after. Enter the elbow as a handy spot for your sneeze that's out of harm's way for others. Pinching your nose shut may help to ward off a sneeze, but you still risk the nose-to-hand germ transfer and you could damage your eardrums.

The spray shooting from your mouth and nose when you sneeze is most like:

The spray shooting from your mouth and nose when you sneeze is most like:

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Think of the moment before you sneeze as the calm before the storm. Sneezing sends forth droplets of hot, humid air and gas, forming something like a storm cloud. Larger droplets fall first, while the smallest remain afloat. A study found some sneeze clouds hang around long enough for the germs to get into a building's air system.

Which of these underwater creatures sneezes?

Which of these underwater creatures sneezes?

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The hair-like structures (cilia) of a sponge collect bothersome bits, and, as in humans, that triggers sneezes. For a sponge though, sneezing is a total-body experience that lasts 30 to 45 minutes. Biologists who have watched sponges sneeze say it suggests these seemingly simple creatures have a nose, or at least a sensory organ.

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Your Score:     You correctly answered   out of   questions.
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Great job! Your achoo IQ is nothing to sneeze at.

Bless you! You now know more than before about sneezing.

Don’t sniffle. Don’t cry. Give the sneeze quiz another try.

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