It’s allergy season and you know what that means! Green pastures, trees of green, bumble bees working around the clock, and let’s not forget the inevitable sneezing and watery eyes that we all get!

Sneezing, although loud, obnoxious, and disgusting, is a very necessary part of our lives. That being said, each sneeze you experience should be celebrated because your body is a night club and your immune system is the bouncer. Each sneeze is a rowdy person getting thrown out of your VIP access only night club.

How’s that for an analogy?


What is a sneeze?

Here is a slow motion video of a sneeze in case you are a visual person

Here is a slow motion video of a sneeze in case you are a visual person

Well it's a verb that is defined as a sudden involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth due to irritation of one’s nostrils.

As a hospice and palliative care professional, it is especially important that you know how to go about sneezing when you are with patients. It is also important that the family members of the patients know how to sneeze correctly. When we say “correctly”, we mean in the way that distributes the least amount of germs into the air.

As a healthcare professional, the common folk look to you as a role model of how to sneeze correctly. If you were never taught how to sneeze correctly, today is your lucky day. There are really only 2 recommended ways of sneezing when you don’t have a tissue. And let’s be honest. There is never a tissue around when you need to sneeze.


The Dead Air Sneezer (Not Hospice Care Professional Approved)

The dead air sneezer is the person that holds nothing back and in no way attempts to restrain the sneeze. They “let it rip” if you will. This technique of sneezing uses no means of prevention to the spread of germs. Don’t be a dead air sneezer. No one wants to see the cloud of mist that comes from your mouth and nose. Really the only place where this is appropriate is in the middle of a field away from any other people.


The in the Shirt Sneezer (Hospice Care Professional Approved)

The "In the Shirt Sneezer" is the unsung hero of sneezers. This type of sneezer puts their body on the line in order to prevent the spread of germs to others. They are literally sneezing into the inside of their shirt and wearing the germs like a body lotion until they can shower later in the day. We have loads of respect for the shirt sneezer and we appreciate everything you do for society.


The in the Elbow Sneezer (Hospice Care Professional Approved)

The "In the Elbow Sneezer" is most likely an A-student because this is the way they are teach to sneeze in 1st grade. When they feel a sneeze coming on, they tuck their face into the bend of their elbow and catch all the germs on the sleeve. This is a very practical way to sneeze in public when you don’t have a tissue.


The Hold it in and Break a Rib Sneezer (Not Hospice Care Professional Approved)

The "Hold it in and Break a Rib Sneezer" is most likely the type of person that was raised very proper. They would rather crack a rib from holding in a sneeze than inconvenience their peers with a germ spreading sneeze. While it is polite to hold in a sneeze, the SONO team does not endorse this technique. Your body is sneezing for a reason. Let it out!



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The Bare Hand Sneezer (Not Hospice Care Professional Approved)

The "Bare Hand Sneezer" is the worst kind of sneezer because they catch all of their germs into their bare hands and then go about their day touching everything in sight. Hands are carriers for disease, and unless you carry those cute little Bath and Body hand sanitizers with you all the time, you are putting all those around you at risk. The only thing worse than a bare hand sneezer is a “Sneeze on the Back of Someone’s Neck" sneezer. See example below:


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We hope this fun article was helpful! Go out into the world and share what you have learned here today. Next time you meet a bare hand sneezer, seize the opportunity to give unsolicited advice!


If you know of any other kind of sneezes that exists not mentioned above, please share them in the comments below!