Sneezing is the body’s way of removing irritants from the nose or throat. Sneezing may occur for different reasons that have in common an irritation of the lining (mucous membranes) of the nose or throat. It is rarely a sign or a symptom of a serious illness.
This blog is a comprehensive guide to sneezing, its causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment.
What is sneezing?
A common response to irritants entering the nose or throat, sneezing is the body’s way of removing unwanted particles through the nasal passage. It is often involuntary and comes without a warning. Sneezing is also called sternutation.
While sneezing can indicate several implications, such as allergies, it usually doesn’t indicate any serious disease.
When should you call the doctor?
Consult your doctor if the sneezing doesn’t cease. If it’s an allergy, the first step would be to recognize and then avoid the allergens. There are prescribed medications that can help relieve the symptoms and help you ease.
What are the causes of sneezing?
The nose primarily works on letting clean air pass through, filtering dirt and bacteria. In a few cases, however, some of the debris enter and reach the mucous membranes. These membranes help neutralize any harmful invaders. When the particles reach mucous membranes directly, they cause people to sneeze. However, there are a few conditions that cause sneezing. They are as follows:
An extremely common condition that causes sneezing to prevent foreign organisms from entering the body. When allergens enter the system, the immune system identifies them and expels them through a sneeze. Some other common reasons that trigger sneezing are:
- Pet fur
- Bright light
- Cold/flu viruses
- Nasal irritants
- Possible inhalation of corticosteroids
Some of the less common triggers include:
- Withdrawal from opioid narcotics or drugs
- Breathing in extremely cold air
- Trauma to the nose
What is the home treatment for sneezing?
The first obvious step is to keep the home free from substances that trigger sneezing. Certain simple lifestyle changes can help keep irritants at a minimum.
If people have pets, it is best to keep their hair trimmed or clean up regularly after their shedding. Vacuum the space to keep their fur and dust mites from causing a reaction.
How are the underlying causes of sneezing treated?
If the allergies are severe, the doctor may recommend injections that contain extraction from purified allergens. It helps keep the body from reacting severely by exposing the body to small doses of allergens.
If it’s an infection that’s causing the sneezing, the options are limited. There are no effective means of treating viruses that cause the common cold or flu.
Nasal sprays are also another go-to medication for runny noses and sneezing. People must get adequate rest and drink plenty of water as it helps the body recover faster and more effectively.
What should people do when they cannot stop sneezing?
Sneezing is a partially controllable reaction to irritants which means that it is often possible to delay or even stop a sneeze before it occurs. It may be possible to delay or stop sneezing naturally by taking the following steps:
The treatment of allergies is a good way of preventing sneezing. However, to treat the allergy, people must first identify the allergens that trigger the reaction. Once the allergens are identified, people can avoid the allergen and prevent sneezing as a result of exposure to it.
Different things can cause people to sneeze. Some of these triggers may be easy to spot and avoid, they include:
- Spices, such as pepper
- Spicy food
- Bright lights
- Baking flour
Avoiding certain foods
Some people sneeze after the consumption of certain foods. Scientists call this phenomenon gustatory rhinitis. Avoiding the following food items can reduce people’s sneezing:
- Chilli peppers
- Bell peppers
Tickling the roof of the mouth
When people stimulate the roof of their mouth with their tongues it can stop a sneeze. Doing this for several seconds before sneezing can help prevent it from occurring.
Avoiding environmental hazards
Some people are in situations, and places where they constantly come into contact with irritants in the air. This can be due to their occupation, or they may have hobbies or live in an area where irritants are regularly in the air. The irritants can include:
- Grain or flour
- Live poultry
People should wear protective gear when they are in areas where these particles are present. Ventilation and dust-prevention can help in reducing exposure to these irritants which may help prevent complications..
It is not always possible for people to stop a sneeze. You may need to consult the doctor if their sneezing is excessive.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What should people do during a sneezing fit?
There is not much that people can do about a sudden bout of sneezing. Since the sneezing fit may probably end soon, people who experience a bout of sneezing need to only wait a few moments for it to pass. However, if a sneezing fit goes on for a long time or keeps coming back despite conventional treatments, people must consider consulting the doctor.
2. Is sneezing too much dangerous?
There is no evidence that, in ordinary cases, sneezing results in negative health outcomes. However, people with a condition called intractable sneezing can find constant sneezing hard to manage. Intractable sneezing is an uncommon condition in which an individual sneezes a lot, and the sneezing does not get better with standard lines of treatment.