Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Questions for Dr. Karl, part I

Dr Karl (short for Karl Kruszelnicki) is a well known Australian-based scientist, author, radio commentator and generally, a man of many many talents. He hosts a science radio show ("Science on mornings") on an Australian radio station called "Triple J" where listeners call in and ask science-related questions for him to answer. I thought i would start an on-going piece called "Questions for Dr. Karl". These are the question for which i want to know the answers to; question which i cant find answers to. I have many but i usually forget what they are. I'll start with this question, which i came up with recently.

Question: If the hearty nature of a sneeze is meant to release any irritants that have built up in our respiratory system, why is is that some people sneeze gently or internally or make squeaky sounds when they sneeze. How does a person who sneezes in this way release anything within their respiratory system.

PS: I have considered the actions of coughing and the mechanical actions of cilia but how could these possibly create the outcomes of a violent sneeze.