Sneezing is a sudden involuntary response to irritation of the mucous membranes of the throat or nose by foreign particles.
According to the Library of Congress, the pervasive myth about the heart not beating as you sneeze might be that, since the blood flow changes during sneezing, your heart skips some beats.
But is this true? We checked.
“This is something comparable to a valsalva manoeuvre,” Rutlen says. “Built up pressure in the chest can cause a vagal reaction pertaining to the vagus nerve, which is part of the nervous system that controls the heart, that slows down the heart. The heart could hold in place for several seconds.”
“Even if it’s possible for the heart to stop, this is nothing to be concerned about,” says Rutlen.
According to Winchester Hospital in Massachusetts, US: “When you first inhale before sneezing, the pressure in your chest increases. Then, as you exhale forcefully during the sneeze the pressure drops.
“Alterations in blood flow to your heart produced by these pressure changes can affect the heart rate. However, the electrical activity in the heart marches on unimpeded – you remain very much alive throughout your sneeze!” – Grace Gichuhi
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
Fighting coronavirus misinformation
Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learn more about the alliance here.
© Copyright Africa Check 2020. Read our republishing guidelines. You may reproduce this piece or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events. This is subject to: Crediting Africa Check in the byline, keeping all hyperlinks to the sources used and adding this sentence at the end of your publication: “This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website", with a link back to this page.