"Bless you" or "God bless you" are commonly used after a sneeze but does one exist (or was one once commonly used but no longer) when a person is obviously about to sneeze?
As a child with various minor allergies, I used to sneeze quite often. Each time she heard me sneeze, my grandmother would quickly bless me with ''zum leben un gesund'' (to life and health) and pull up on my right ear. Upon the inevitable second sneeze, my left ear would be pulled, accompanied by another blessing, ''zum wachsen un kwelln'' (to grow and thrive).
As the act of sneezing was associated with death, there are likely many 'old wives' expressions. The children's rhyme "Ring Around the Rosie" addresses the link between a plague death and sneezing:
- Ring-a-ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.
Wikipedia list over 80 languages for Responses to sneezing, and whereas some include different blessings/health terms for the second or third sneeze, none are 'preventative'