There is no shortage of superstitions, myths, speculation and even fear surrounding the question of whether your heart stops during a sneeze. Throughout the centuries, sneezing has covered an abundance of topics with questions such as is someone gossiping about you? Are you going to die? Is the weather going to change? Do demons possess you? Universally, sneezing is cultural. One society may consider sneezing a good omen, while another sees it as unfavorable. Because many superstitions and myths are passed down from one generation to the next and cleverly woven into cultural history, these beliefs persist.


1. What Is a Sneeze?

When the nerve endings in your nose begin to tingle, a message is sent to your brain to eliminate the substance that’s irritating the fine nose hairs called cilia. Macroscopic in size, cilia are continuously moving to draw mucus toward the throat which is part of both the digestive and respiratory system. Once an irritant is sensed, and the brain is signaled, your body responds involuntarily because sneezing is a reflex you can't control.

sneeze cilia signals reflex N8tureGrl / Getty Images
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