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What Is the Longest Known Sneezing Episode?

The longest known sneezing episode began on 13 January 1981 and lasted until 16 September 1983. Donna Griffiths, a citizen of the United Kingdom, is believed to have sneezed in excess of 1 million times during that first year. During the worst phase of the episode, Griffiths would sneeze at least once per minute.

More facts about sneezing:

  • The average sneeze travels at roughly 100 miles per hour. During a sneeze, as many as 100,000 germs can be released into the open air. The speed and the number of germs that are released mean that using a handkerchief is not only polite but also important to the task of reducing the spread of those germs.

  • It is not possible to sneeze while asleep. The nerves that are responsible for stimulating the activity of sneezing are at rest when an individual is not awake.

  • Sneezing is healthy. The act of sneezing helps remove bacteria and viruses from the sinus cavities. As part of the process, the sneeze mechanism causes the throat, eyes and mouth to close. From there, muscles in the chest contract, preparing for the sneeze. As the throat muscles relax, the air in the chest is expelled through the nose and mouth, taking along some of the bacteria.

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