Have you ever been in a situation where you are at a very important meeting and suddenly you feel like you’re about to sneeze? And in the second that precedes your sneeze, all you can think is, oh god, how do I NOT sneeze at this particular moment.
This kind of a thing happens with me quite often. Just a few weeks back, I was attending my zoology class where we were studying about the human respiratory system. We were discussing various problems and complications and terms and all that stuff. We were talking about how sneezing is a protective blast that expels irritants out forcefully by sending nerve impulse to the nose when I actually sneezed. My teacher said, “and now I’ll tell you how you can stop your sneeze,” giving me a smug look.
He told us that whenever we feel like sneezing, if we press, or rather pinch our nose at the level of zygomatic bone (that’s your cheekbone) we can stop ourselves from sneezing. We were all surprised because we always thought that sneezing is an involuntary reflex that can’t be controlled. However, we came to know that when irritated, the nasal membrane sends signals to the nervous system. The nervous system in turn directs us to sneeze. Now, we can stop this nerve impulse midway by pinching our nose for a few seconds by when the impulse would have died (being a short term message). And hence, you can actually stop your sneeze! Isn’t that just wonderful? Tell me if you’ve been in an awkward situation where you’d rather not sneeze but had to?
P.S. do tell me if this post was too scientific and you’d like me to tone down the sciency-part in the next post in this column…