MESSRS. EDITORS : You will agree with me that it is not a superstitious notion that sneezing may be an indication of having caught a cold. The wise take it as a premonition to avoid encroaching upon a constitution at present sound ; they shut every door, close every window, and even stop every crack through which the air may ooze. Sneezing is the effect of a convulsion of the diaphragm, or muscle separating the chest from the abdomen. The sudden check of the uniform condition of the respirating apparatus brings on sneezing. Therefore, by stopping or changing the cause, the effect is prevented. The air which is inhaled when a fit of sneezing is coming on, if suddenly breathed out, will effectually arrest the sneeze. There are times when sneezing is out of place among persons of good breeding—times when it ought not to break deep silence, as at prayers. J. H. H.
This article was originally published with the title "To Avoid Sneezing" in Scientific American 13, 14, 107 (December 1857)