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January 30, 2002
It's been a practice since the medieval period that the response of "God bless you" to a sneeze has been maintained. Originally, it was for any sneeze or cough exclaimed from a sick and/or dying individual suffering from the plague. It was believed that the response would invoke a divine solace to the affliction and lean its progression more to wellness rather than succumbing. Today, the response is merely a habitual reaction that does not have the religious intent but just as well meaning. This can be said about "thank you" and "good-bye" which are abbreviated into "thanks" and "bye".