Stupid Tip of the Day: How Not to Sneeze

Note: Stupid Tip of the Day is a new regular feature of The Gate which will not be featured regularly — if at all — after today.

learned on my own some years ago a very simple trick on how not to sneeze.

I am not saying I invented it.

I am not saying that it has never been done before.

I am not encouraging you to suppress sneezing, as sneezing is usually good for you.

I am not saying that it is guaranteed to work for you.

All I am saying is that it has been something I have been doing for years now and basically kept it to myself — until just the other day when I was at a certain conference which was not discussed by any of the other “bloggers” at BoardingArea.

The person seated next to me suddenly started to sneeze…

…and sneeze again…

…and sneeze yet again. You can tell that this person was uncomfortable and wanted to stop, as the only other noise in the entire room was the speaker presenting to the audience.

About to sneeze a fourth time, I quickly whispered to this person to breathe out through the nose.

Looking at me like I had just said that I had been named the new chief executive officer of Eastern Airlines but desperate to try anything, this person did just that: breathed out through the nose.

Suddenly, there was laughter of disbelief from this person. The sneezing suddenly stopped. It worked!

Later on in the conference, the sneezing started again. “Breathe out!”, I whispered.

It worked again — and the laughter of disbelief started again.

To me, the concept is simple: if I feel that “burning” feeling in my nose like I am about to sneeze, I simply breathe out through my nose. As a result, I usually do not sneeze. Conversely, if I want to sneeze and feel one coming, I breathe in to encourage the sneeze to happen.

Warning: my sneezes can blow the roof off of a building. “Good Lord — do you have to sneeze so loud?!?”

Well…no. I suppose not. But it feels good when I do.

I have someone special in mind to whom I need to impart this trick — a person who suffered from a barrage of hiccups and could not stop. I told that person to take her big toe and reach it up to her nose.

Imagine my disbelief when that ridiculously stupid action suddenly stopped her hiccups, as I had just made up that “cure” at that moment; and it worked subsequent times afterwards.

I swear to you on a stack of frequent flier loyalty program miles that I did not fabricate that hiccup story. Believe it or not, it is absolutely true.

Anyway, how not to sneeze is one of those stupid tricks where either it is so simple that everyone knows about it or no one knows about it; or that it sounds so ridiculous that it is not even worth mentioning…

…but please do me a favor: if you do not believe me, try it the next time you feel a sneeze and let me know if it works for you…

8 thoughts on “Stupid Tip of the Day: How Not to Sneeze”

  1. Scottrick says:

    There is a nerve that runs directly underneath your nose, and if you pinch it you will prevent yourself from sneezing. Put your finger under your nose (as if making a fake mustache). Then gently push into the angle between your nose and your upper lip. The feeling that you have to sneeze will go away before you even start.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I never knew that, Scottrick. Thank you for imparting that trick!

  2. Ford says:

    Please don’t feature this regular feature again after today.


    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I suppose this article was nothing to sneeze at for you, Ford.

  3. JustSaying says:

    Scott is spot on…….normally I just hold my nose in a similar fashion as Scott suggests until I can make it to the bath room to blow my nose and remove the offending bugs…………it is a good tool if you want to be a good traveler………..

  4. Katlyn Sampson says:

    More useful on planes is knowing how to stop a fart. A little known trick is to try to touch the tip of your tongue to your nipple (don’t worry if you can’t reach – it is the exertion to try that matters) while using your index finger to point at the same nipple simultaneously. Yes, it looks silly, but it works flawlessly.

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