Your body has another defense mechanism to get rid of irritants. By coughing, the airway is cleared of irritants, foreign particles and microbes. By coughing, sensory nerves along your respiratory passages are stimulated thus forcing irritants out of your nose. Common colds, sinus infections and pneumonia all increase your body’s mucus production, which triggers coughing. Coughing is also a common symptom when the airways are ‘tight’, as in asthma or heavy smoking.
Foreign particles or irritants inside your nose can trigger a sneeze. These irritants include cold air, dust or pepper. When you catch a cold, your body makes mucus to trap the virus, and sneezing helps force it. (and the sickness) out of your body. Sneezing can further be triggered when a person has allergies to certain things, such as animal dander or pollen. Also, sudden climate change, a particularly full stomach, exposure to bright light, or as a symptom of viral infection can trigger sneezing.
The accepted explanation for this phenomenon is that yawning happens because the oxygen levels in our lungs are low. A yawn is the reflex opening of the mouth followed by the deep inhalation and slow exhalation of oxygen. Also, it is a way to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood.
Your body needs to keep a core temperature of about 98.6°F (36.9°C), when your temperature drops too low, skin receptors send signals to the brain, which sets into motion a series of warming tricks. Shivering is full-body muscle twitching in which your muscles contract and expand in speedy bursts. This twitching exercise produces heat, which helps to raise body temperature. When we develop a cold, the cold virus makes our temperature drop, which is why we often shiver even if we are in a warm environment. The best option to stop shivering is to put extra layers of clothes on.
Everyone experiences hiccups from time to time, especially after eating too much food or drinking too much alcohol. Hiccups are caused by sudden contractions of the diaphragm; the muscle at the base of the lungs. This contraction makes your vocal cords close very briefly, which produces the sound of a hiccup. Hiccups usually disappear after a few minutes. If hiccups last for days, see your doctor. Hiccups are normal in newborns and infants.
Eye twitching (myokymia) is an involuntary eyelid muscle contraction that usually affects the lower eyelid. Its exact cause is still unknown but eye twitching develops due to the following reasons: lack of sleep, stress, lack of sleep or eye strain. Twitching has also been associated with high caffeine intake, bright lights, fatigue, watching too much TV, and staring at the computer all day. An eyelid twitch is usually a sign that you need to take a break and relax.
When our body loses its moisture due to environment related things or over-washing, our skin becomes dry and strip of its natural oils. Itching is usually caused by the release of histamine, a chemical with many functions in the body, whether as a result of bites, allergy, irritation or disease. By means of neural pathways, the sensation is transmitted to the brain. Face or body lotion should be able to keep these types of itches under control; also look for body washes and soaps labeled “moisturizing.”
Scientifically, blushing begins with an emotion – usually one associated with self-consciousness. When you’re embarrassed or ashamed, an involuntary reaction of our nervous system causes the blood vessels in our face to dilate. This allows more blood to flow to the skin, resulting in a color that ranges from light pink to dark red.
Goosebumps are caused by tightening muscles which pull body hair into an erect position. This condition wherein tiny bumps covers your skin starts with a stimulus such as cold or fear. Goosebumps occur when the arrector pili, a tiny muscle that connects the hair follicle with skin, contracts and makes the hair stand on end. They are common on the arms and legs, but goose bumps can technically appear anywhere, including on the face, scalp, and chest.
Charley horse, also called a leg cramp, is due to a painful contraction of one of the leg muscles (usually the thigh or calf muscles). These abrupt, painful muscle spasms can be blamed on several things, including sore muscles, dehydration a mineral deficiency or hormonal imbalance. Spasms can occur more at night, sometimes because the leg is stretched out, essentially encouraging the spasm. To avoid getting legs cramps, be sure to increase fluid intake when working out. However, if you experience this type of cramping, treat it with a good stretch, massage the muscles and walk around to help relieve the pain.
Watch out for Part 2 of this post.