What happens when you sneeze?

What happens when you sneeze?

Everyone sneezes. But what really happens when you sneeze?

“Sneezing is a reflex,” says Stacey Lynn Brandt, a nurse practitioner at Aurora Health Center in Slinger, Wis. “When your nose gets irritated from particles – like pollen, dust, mold or mucous from having a cold, the flu or other respiratory illness – your body automatically reacts to clear your airways.”

Are you trying to find a doctor? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

Related Posts



  1. Gail Valentine July 7, 2022 at 1:34 pm · Reply

    Have you ever actually sneezed? Steps 4 and 5 do not happen for me, although they do for my Catt. My sneezes, which undoubtedly were meant to happen as you say, instead go out entirely through my mouth. Step 4 is the connection between your airway and your nose slams shut. Step 5 air expels through your mouth, leaving your nose still irritated until you hauck or blow it. Oh, and, because the sneeze did nothing for you nose, you will continue to sneeze several more times.

  2. Right there with you Gail haha

  3. Joseph Crowther July 7, 2022 at 7:13 pm · Reply

    I’m with Gail Valentine. Really, does my nose say “achoo!!” when I sneeze?

  4. Yep, it’s pretty obvious that most of the air comes from your mouth. Sneezes are extremely powerful and if all that air came from only your nose, I’m sure it would cause significant damage to your nasal passages, sinuses and Eustachian tubes.

    But at least when I sneeze, a bit of the air seems to come from my nose as well. It’s definitely mostly from my mouth, but not exclusively.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Mary Arens
Mary Arens

Mary Arens, health enews contributor, is a senior content specialist at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has 20+ years of experience in communications plus a degree in microbiology. Outside of work, Mary makes healthy happen with hiking, yoga, gardening and walks with her dog, Chester.