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By Medicover Hospitals / 17 Feb 2021
Home | symptoms | sneezing
  • Sneezing (sternutation) is the act of expelling a sudden and uncontrollable blast of air through the nose and mouth. Sneezing can occur for a variety of reasons that all have in common an irritation of the lining (mucous membranes) of the nose or throat. Rarely is it a symptom of major disease.
  • Article Context:

    1. What Is Sneezing?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home Remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What Is Sneeezing?

  • Sneezing or sternutation is a strong, sudden, uncontrolled blast of air through the nose and mouth. It's your body's way of removing irritants from your nose or throat. A sneeze is an evacuation of air that is strong and spontaneous. Sneezing often happens suddenly and without warning. Another name for sneezing is sternutation.
  • While sneezing is usually bothersome, it is not serious. It can occur as part of an allergic reaction, or it can accompany an infection or illness. Sneezing can also result from a drug interaction, direct stimulation of the nose, such as a nasal spray or touch of the nasal mucosa, or some other irritant. Sneezing can also accompany vasomotor rhinitis.
  • Sneezing can usually be prevented by avoiding irritants, such as dust or other allergens. If the sneezing results from allergies or infections, removing the allergen, taking allergy medications, such as antihistamines or nasal sprays, or treating the infection will usually resolve the sneezing.
  • Causes:

  • Part of your nose's job is to clean the air you breathe, making sure it is free of dirt and bacteria. In most cases, the nose traps this dirt and bacteria in the mucus. Sometimes, however, dirt and debris can get into the nose and irritate the sensitive mucous membranes inside the nose and throat. When these membranes become irritated, it makes you sneeze.
  • Allergies:

  • Allergies are an incredibly common disease induced by the reaction of the body to foreign species. Under normal circumstances, your body's immune system protects it from harmful invaders such as disease-causing bacteria.
  • If you have allergies, usually harmless species marked as hazards by your body's immune system. When your body attempts to expel certain creatures, allergies will cause you to sneeze.
  • Infections:

  • Infections caused by viruses like the common cold, and the flu can also cause you to sneeze. Over 200 different viruses are available that can induce the common cold. The rhinovirus though is the product of certain colds.
  • Less common causes:

  • Other less common causes of sneezing include:
    • trauma to the nose
    • withdrawal from certain drugs, such as opioid narcotics
    • inhaled irritants, including dust and pepper
    • breathing cold air


  • Once they have determined the cause of your muscle weakness, your healthcare provider will recommend the appropriate treatment. Your treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your muscle weakness, and the severity of your symptoms.
    • If your sneezing results from allergies or an infection, you and your doctor can work together to treat the cause and resolve your sneezing.
    • Your first step would be to eliminate recognized allergens if an allergy is the source of the sneezing. Your doctor will teach you how to recognize these allergens, so you know to stay away from them.
    • Over-the-counter and prescription medications called antihistamines are also available to relieve your symptoms.
    • Your doctor can suggest getting allergy shots if you have serious allergies. Allergy shots contain purified allergen extracts. Exposing your body to allergens in small regulated doses helps prevent your body from reacting to allergens in the future.
    • If you have an infection, such as the common cold or the flu, your treatment options are more limited. Currently, no antibiotics are effective in treating the viruses that cause colds and flu.

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • Sneezing is very common and rarely shows anything serious. It is important to be aware of any other symptoms you have with a sore nose and to consult a doctor if you are concerned about your current health.
  • If you have a persistent fever, cough, or congestion that doesn't go away after a few days, see your doctor. These symptoms can be a sign of other health problems that require a doctor's attention.
  • If you think you may have a sinus infection, talk to your doctor. This type of infection can often clear up on its own once it is treated with prescription antibiotics. You can get some relief while you wait for the antibiotics to work by taking decongestants and mucus thinners.
  • Home Remedies:

    Understand triggers:

  • Triggers are easy to spot and should avoid if you want to avoid experiencing a sneeze. Spicy foods, perfumes, dust, cold viruses, dandruff, baking flour are some of the most common items that can cause sneezing. Therefore, avoid them!
  • Get more vitamin C:

  • Vitamin C supports the immune system and is one of the most important nutrients if you have a cold. It is an antihistamine and is found in citrus fruits and certain vegetables. Guava, mustard, spinach, kiwis, oranges, lemons are high in vitamin C and can help fight a cold.
  • Ginger and Tulsi:

  • Ginger and tulsi can help you a lot in fighting a cold. Adding them to your tea is the easiest and most reliable way to combat sneezing. You can also boil 3-4 tulsi leaves with a little ginger for added benefits.
  • Amla:

  • Amla is rich in antioxidants and antibacterial properties. These elements build our immunity. Eating 3-4 amlas a day or drinking amla juice 2-3 times a day will help you stop that irritating sneeze.
  • Chew black cardamom:

  • Black cardamom is another great ingredient that has properties that will help reduce your sneezing. It can be chewed 2-3 times a day when you have a cold. Its powerful aroma and oil content can help normalize the flow of mucus and remove irritants.
  • Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Sneezing is an important part of the immune process, helping us stay healthy and protect our body by clearing the nose of bacteria and viruses, explains Kao.
  • It is concluded that it is normal to sneeze and blow the nose less than 4 times a day, while a higher number may be a sign of rhinitis.
  • The inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose or throat induces sneezing. It can be very annoying, but it is rarely a sign of a serious problem.
  • If you have general body aches and pains, cough up mucus, or have a fever along with your other problems, a cold is to blame. If your eyes are watery and your nose is watery, your allergies are increasing.
  • Citations:

  • JAMA Network -
  • Europe PMC -