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Bless you, geshundheit, salud, bid'te edorary, sois beni, etc. No matter what language you speak, it is what is said after someone sneezes. When and/or where did this tradition start? What makes a person sneeze? These, among others, are questions being addressed in this weeks post.

Yes, I know this is a fitness blog, but remember at the conclusion of the last series I said we would be venturing out into unchartered waters, so with that let's sail away from the normal route and reel in a different aspect of health and fitness. Over the next three months, my articles will be discussing the consequences stemming from inactivity or unfortunate circumstances that thwart a person's ability to perform at their best. Don't worry tho, with a positive attitude, a bit of perseverance and, of course, light to moderate exercise all is well that ends well.

Before we dive into the depths of this post lets first travel back to 14th century Europe (more specifically Rome) during the Middle Ages when the bubonic plague was rampant. Because the ailment was often fatal and the Romans believed that sneezing was a symptom of the disease, they came up with the expression "God bless you" so that when the infected person died, their souls would go to heaven. Continuing forward many centuries later the "God" was removed (but still implied) and the term "bless you" remained. Nowadays, it is merely a polite gesture.

So what actually causes a person to sneeze? That could be a combination of things like illness, pollen or other stimuli, an insect flying into a persons nose, a change in humidity, or something as simple as allergies. Whatever the case may be, when a trigger occurs a message is sent to the brain to rid the nose of the irritant initiating a sneeze. Fun fact: the reason some people have mega sneezes (those heard for miles) and others don't is due to the amount of air taken in right before the sneeze occurs. In a nutshell, more oxygen in means more sneeze out.

Oftentimes, sneezing is a way of life for most people and usually not a cause for great concern. However, it is always a good idea when you sneeze into your elbow or a Kleenex to check for clarity and consistency of what comes out. I apologize if this sounds a bit gross, but your snot can tell you a lot about specific conditions that affect your overall health. Clear and runny is usually just allergies. Yellowish green and thick indicates a cold or sinus infection that may require further evaluation from a doctor and/or antibiotic medication.

Even though you, my fellow fitness friends, already know this, it bears repeating...always wash your hands after blowing your nose to prevent the spread of contagious bacteria and viruses. If you are ill, take a sick day from work and/or the gym and rest. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and flush toxins from your body for a quicker recovery. And once you have recovered, remember exercise plays a vital role in keeping all bodily systems at their peak so get up, get out and get moving!

Wrapping up this chapter I would like to say I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and God Bless You as we move closer to gift giving season. Stay healthy, safe and warm. See you next week!

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