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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about – sneezing, in honor of the spring allergy season.


CURWOOD: Warm weather, longer days, flowers in bloom. People love spring, but they don't always love spring's pollen. All those flowering plants can sometimes touch off allergic reactions in humans. The typical symptoms are nasal congestion, itchy, drippy nose and eyes, and of course sneezing.


CURWOOD: Gesundheit. By the way, the sneeze is a most powerful reflex. When an offending particle irritates the lining of your nostrils, a sneeze explodes to blow away the intruder at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. The earliest sneeze recorded for posterity is also in the earliest surviving copywritten picture. It was filmed at Thomas Edison's laboratory in 1889. And the longest sneezing streak on record? Well, it was set in the early 1980s. A young British girl ah-chooed constantly for 978 days.

(Music up and under: "Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo! ...")

CURWOOD: And for this week, that's the Living on ... the Living on ... the (sudden intake of breath) the Living on Earth Almanac.



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