Does your heart stop when you sneeze

Does your heart stop when you sneeze?

Have you also been told or do you wonder if the heart stops when you sneeze?

It is a myth that when someone sneezes, their heart stops. The heart does not cease beating, although it may modify its rhythm for a brief period. There is no danger to one’s health or well-being as a result of this.

This article investigates what happens to a person’s heart when they sneeze. It also looks at what causes sneezes, how to avoid them, and how to do so safely.

What causes sneezes?

Sneezing is one of the body’s mechanisms for expelling foreign particles and chemicals from the respiratory tract. The nose, throat, and lungs are all part of this system.

Sneezing can occur when a person inhales anything that irritates their respiratory tract. Dust, spices, and pollen are examples of irritants.

The following things can also cause sneezing:

Common cold

Sneezing is one of the most common symptoms of a cold caused by a viral infection in the respiratory tract.

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs when a person’s nasal tract becomes irritated from exposure to an allergen. Sneezing is one of the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis and can be treated with various drugs.

The flu

The flu, often known as influenza, is a viral infection that causes a respiratory ailment.

When we sneeze, why do we close our eyes?

When you sneeze, your body has an instinct to close your eyes. Despite popular belief, sneezing with your eyes open will not cause your eyeballs to pop out of your head.

When we’re sick, why do we sneeze?

When a foreign material enters the body, our system tries to clean itself, and when we’re sick, the system attempts to heal itself by getting rid of stuff. Allergies, the flu, and the common cold can result in a runny nose and sinus leakage. When these are present, sneezing may become more frequent as the body attempts to expel the fluids.

When we have allergies, why do we sneeze?

Anyone can sneeze if dust stirs up while cleaning. However, if you are allergic to dust, cleaning may cause you to sneeze more frequently due to the amount of dust you come into contact with.

Pollen, pollution, dander, mold, and other allergens are the same. When these allergens enter the body, the body responds by generating histamine to combat the invaders.

Sneezing, runny eyes, coughing, and a runny nose are all indications of an allergic reaction triggered by histamine.

When we look at the sun, why do we sneeze?

You’re not alone if you walk out into the bright sun and find yourself on the verge of sneezing.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the tendency to sneeze when looking at bright lights affects about one-third of the population. The photic or solar sneeze reflex is the name given to this phenomenon [source].

Why do some people sneeze several times in a row?

Researchers are baffled as to why certain people sneeze repeatedly. It could indicate that your sneezes aren’t as powerful as someone who only sneezes once. It could also suggest continuing or chronic nasal stimulation or inflammation, which allergies could cause.

Is it possible for orgasms to cause sneezing?

Yes, it is feasible. According to research, some people sneeze when they have sexual thoughts or when they orgasm, and it is unclear how the two events are linked [source].

Does your heart stop when you sneeze?

Electrical signals from the sinus node (a small clump of tissue in the heart’s upper-right chamber or atria) cause the heart to beat.

When a person sneezes, their heart does not stop, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. This is because sneezing does not affect the electrical signals that regulate heart rate.[source]

When a person sneezes, the pressure in the chest changes dramatically, causing a change in the heart’s blood flow. These quick, dramatic shifts may affect the heart rate, but the heart does not cease beating.

When a person sneezes, it is a myth that their heart stops. The heart does not cease beating, although it may alter its rhythm for a brief period. There is no risk to one’s health or well-being due to this.

What happens to the heart when you sneeze?

The belief that a person’s heart stops when they sneeze may come from the fact that sneezing can alter the heartbeat’s rhythm.

When a person inhales deeply before sneezing, extra pressure builds up in the chest. The pressure diminishes as a person exhales during a sneeze. This can affect the heart rate by altering blood flow to the heart.

The heart rate is slightly altered as a result of the pressure and blood flow alterations; however, it quickly returns to normal.

The vagus nerve is also involved. This nerve connects the brain to the stomach, and it is the component of the nervous system that controls the heart and is responsible for reflex responses such as sneezing.

After a sneeze, the built-up pressure in the chest can induce the vagus nerve to react and lower the heart rate.

Your heart skips a beat when you sneeze but does not stop beating.

Why does your heart skip a beat when you sneeze?

When you sneeze, your heart does not stop beating; it may be temporarily disrupted. Here’s what that means in layman’s terms:

You take a deep breath just before sneezing. This increases the amount of pressure in your chest, slows the flow of blood to your heart, reduces your blood pressure, and elevates your heart rate (BPM).

Your throat constricts. You may have experienced the sensation of your throat becoming blocked just before coughing or sneezing. This allows the intrathoracic pressure already built up in your abdominal cavity to help evacuate the air in the final step of a sneeze.

Maintain hygienic conditions when sneezing.

When sneezing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking the following steps: [source]

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing.
  • After that, toss the tissue in the garbage.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands.
  • People should also wash their hands quickly after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.

People should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If this isn’t an option, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

What to do if you don’t want to sneeze

One can avoid sneezing in a variety of ways. A person can do the following:

  • Avoid irritants that trigger a sneeze, such as visible dust, mold, or pollen in the environment. It can help to know which irritants are causing problems.
  • Treat allergies: When an allergic reaction causes sneezing, this is critical. Avoiding allergens may not always be possible. Using an over-the-counter drug such as antihistamine tablets or glucocorticosteroid nasal spray may be helpful.
  • Blowing your nose: Doing so when you’re about to sneeze can help eliminate the irritation and prevent the sneeze.
  • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays that clear the sinuses may help avoid sneezing.
  • Some people find that pinching their noses prevents them from sneezing.


The truth is that your heart does not stop when you sneeze. Your heart rhythm changes and the subsequent beat is delayed when you sneeze, but your heartbeat does not entirely cease. This isn’t a life-threatening condition.

However, visit a doctor if you experience unusual symptoms following sneezing, such as dizziness, nausea, or fainting. These signs of illness may require treatment to avoid long-term consequences, particularly those involving your heart.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Chief Editor at

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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