Most of us would merely coo and ahh when an infant sneezes, but it turns out even that has much deeper implications in other parts of the world.
British nurses believe that babies were under a fairy spell until they sneezed. Nowadays, when kids lose that angelic charm and innocence, we refer to it as “growing up”.
Likewise, the Polynesian people treat a child’s sneeze with similarly mystical significance. A young Maori child’s sneeze could signal the prospects of a visit or a piece of interesting news. In Tonga, the sneeze of a child means bad fortune for the family.
Can your eyeballs pop out of their sockets if you sneeze with your eyes open? Don’t worry, you’ll be okay. Our eyeballs are very securely tucked inside their sockets, so you will not end up with a freaky, perpetually surprised-looking face.
Saying “bless you” after someone sneezes is a common act of courtesy. However, this gesture has much darker origins. Some 1,500 years ago, it was believed that the soul leaves its body temporarily during a sneeze, leaving behind a temptingly vacant shell for the devil to swoop in and occupy. So, a “bless you” served to safeguard the sneezer’s soul.
Alternate theories suggest that the practice of blessing a sneeze arose out of the terrible Black Death pandemic. The highly contagious plague would cause its victim to cough and sneeze uncontrollably. The pope then stepped in and decreed that blessing a sneezer would protect oneself from the deadly plague that was terrorising 13th century Europe.
It’s obvious by now that the ever-present Ah…Chew is loaded with myths folklore and colourful meanings. And, as entertaining as they may be, the best thing about a flu is avoiding one.
That’s why we’ve put together these tried-and-tested ways to prevent contagious diseases like the flu. Don’t give into the flu, follow these tips and F.I.G.H.T back.
- Before and after meals
- Before handling food
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose
- The elderly and their caregivers
- Very young children, aged 6 months to 5 years
- People with low immunity (e.g. on cancer treatment) or chronic diseases such as diabetes
Wait, where’s the sex?
If you’re reading this only because you saw “sex” in the headline, thank you for making it this far. Here’s what you’re looking for:
Some people experience the excitement of an unlikely organ – the nose, during sexual arousal. This odd reflex causes sneezing, which seems highly inconvenient for the situation. If you’re still curious (which you probably are), search for “sexually induced sneezing”.