How come when you burp while drinking soda and exhale the air through your nose, it stings?

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How come when you burp while drinking soda and exhale the air through your nose, it stings?

In: Biology

Soda is carbonated water. The act of carbonating the water converts some of it into carbonic acid. This acid is what stings your nose when you exhale (tiny amounts of it in the air), or belch in my case!

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The fizz in carbonated drinks comes from carbon dioxide dissolved in the drink. When it hits your stomach some of the carbon dioxide gas comes out of the drink and when you pass it through your nose it redissolves in the water and mucus in your nasal passage. Carbon dioxide is an acidic oxide and forms carbonic (a weak) acid when dissolved in water which is what stings a bit.

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Mucous contains bicarbonate, which makes it a basic substance that buffers acid. CO2 alone is not an acid so it’s fine, but carbonic acid from soda is more concentrated , so it stings a bit. If you have a dry nose it actually stings more. There is a TON of mucous lining your stomach (enough to buffer the hydrochloride acid in your stomach so it doesn’t burn holes through). That’s why you can eat acidic foods with no problem…u less you have an ulcer (which is a breakdown of the stomach lining mucus that allows the acidic component to burn tissues), then it’s a problem. This is why you take an “antacid” (basic compound) to alleviate heartburn and ulcer pain.

When you put carbondioxide (CO2) into water (H2O), you create Carbonic Acid (H2CO3).

CO2 + H2O —> H2CO3

When you disturb the solution of carbonic acid, by shaking the soda, drinking the soda, or putting objects (mentos, anyone?) into the soda, you reverse the process.

The carbonic acid breaks down into water and CO2. The CO2 is released as bubbles/gas/fizz.

H2CO3 —> H2O + CO2

If you send a high enough concentration of CO2 through your nose, it will react with the water in your mucus, and once again create carbonic acid.

CO2 + H2O —> H2CO3

The acid now tingles your nose.

Hi everyone,

This is a lovely question, however this sub does not allow anecdotes as top level comments (or jokes, guesses, opinions, etc. see rules 3, 5 and 8).

If you have a lovely personal story then you can include it as a child comment, either here or on another comment, or in addition a proper explanation.

Top level comments must be objective explanations which address the topic presented in the title.

Thanks!