Pat Shingleton: "Ah Choo!"
The response to someone sneezing is, "God bless you," or "Bless You." This practice originated in 77 AD when it was believed that a person's soul could be tossed from their body when they sneezed. It also opened the body for a Devil invasion. Through the centuries it was also believed that the heart stops beating during a sneeze and could possibly be exacerbated by holding back the sneeze. "Gesundheit," following a sneeze means "good luck or all the best." The wind speed from a common cough has been determined to be around 270 miles per hour and a sneeze is around 100 miles per hour. The Natural Resources Defense Council recently reported that one-in-three Americans reside in the sneeziest and wheeziest cities and regions in the country. Ragweed, pollen and ozone contribute the increase in sneezing. Researchers believe that as climate change warms the planet, millions more Americans could become ill with severe respiratory allergies and asthma. The report has targeted 35 cities where exposure to ragweed and ozone smog is at its highest. The most vulnerable regions are the Los Angeles Basin, the St. Louis area, the Great Lakes Region, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. Of the 35 cities not one is located in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama. Orlando and Dallas are the only cities in Florida and Texas. Four cities are in Pennsylvania, six in Ohio and Los Angeles is the only standout for California. I find it interesting that when I hear folks sneeze during religious ceremonies, no one responds with "God Bless You..."