Difference Between Cough and Sneeze

Read on to understand the difference between Cough and sneeze:

Difference Between Sneeze And Cough

Sneeze

Cough

Meaning

A sneeze is an involuntary expulsion of air from the lungs through the throat or nose. It is triggered when the lining of the nose is irritated.

A cough is a voluntary or involuntary forceful expulsion of air that help clear breathing passages from foreign particles or irritants

Medical Terminology

Sternutation

Tussis

Mechanism

When foregin particles that enter the nasal cavity touch the tiny, delicate hairs of the nasal passage, the brain receives an electric signal implying that the nasal cavity needs to be cleared. It then signals the body for the impending sneeze. The body does this by forcing the eyes shut, moving the tongue to the roof of the mouth and all the other muscles then brace for the sneeze.

A cough consists of the following stages – air is inhaled; then exhaled forcefully against the closed up vocal cords, and is then violently released following the opening of vocal cords

Speed of Expulsion

A typical sneeze expels upto 100,000 droplets. The speed at which a sneeze travels has been roughly estimated to travel as fast as 160 kmph

A cough on the other hand travels much slower – at 80kmph. A single cough also expels less droplets when compared to a sneeze – at just 3,000 droplets

Frequently Asked Questions on Sneeze and Cough

What is the difference between Cough and sneeze?

Both are mechanisms that help to clear foreign particles or irritants from the respiratory system. However, a sneeze is an involuntary expulsion of air from the lungs through the throat or nose. It is triggered when the lining of the nose is irritated. On the other hand, a cough is a forceful expulsion of air that helps clear breathing passages from foreign particles or irritants. It can be voluntary or involuntary.

Why do we sneeze?

When foregin particles enter the nasal cavity, it usually brushes up against the tiny, delicate hairs of the nasal passage. This sends signals to the brain implying that the nasal cavity needs to be cleared. The brain then signals the body for the impending sneeze. The body prepares for this by forcing the eyes shut, moving the tongue to the roof of the mouth and all the other muscles in the body then brace for the sneeze.

Explore more differences between articles, or other fascinating concepts – from the morphology of flowering plants to the anatomy of the human body only at BYJU’S Biology.

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