When you sneeze, your body is trying to expel something — usually a virus — from your nose. Sneezing is the body’s way of clearing the nasal passages and getting rid of anything that doesn’t belong there.
Most often, sneezing is caused by an irritation in the nose, such as dust or pollen. But it can also be a symptom of a cold or other respiratory infection. When you have a cold, your body produces more mucus to help trap and get rid of the virus. The increased mucus can irritate the lining of your nose, leading to sneezing.
Sneezing is also a reflex action, meaning it happens automatically in response to certain stimuli. For example, if you have an itch in your nose, sneezing can help relieve it.
An allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system to a foreign protein. When somebody with allergies comes into contact with an allergen, their body releases histamine and other chemicals that cause the airways to constrict and the nose to run and itch. This can result in sneezing, among other symptoms. Allergies are often treated with antihistamines, which can help to reduce or eliminate sneezing.
The common cold
The common cold is a virus that affects the nose, throat and upper airways. It is the most common illness in humans and can cause a range of symptoms, from a runny nose and sneezing to a fever and body aches. The common cold is caused by more than 200 different viruses, which is why it is so difficult to prevent. There is no cure for the common cold, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms.
Other causes of sneezing
Sneezing is not only caused by allergies or a cold, there are many other possible causes. These can include:
- Respiratory infections: Such as the flu, bronchitis, or sinus infections.
- Irritants in the air: This could be smoke, dust, or even strong odors.
- Weather changes: Sudden temperature changes can trigger sneezing.
- Hormone changes: Women may sneeze more often during pregnancy due to hormone fluctuations.
- Medications: Certain medications can cause a person to sneeze. These include some antihistamines, nasal decongestants, and blood pressure medications.
How to stop sneezing
When you feel a sneeze coming on, there are a few things you can do to try to stop it. First, pinch your nose shut and hold it for about five seconds. This will give the sneeze time to subside. Second, try holding your breath for three seconds and then exhaling slowly. Third, try gently blowing your nose to get rid of any irritants that might be causing the sneeze. Finally, if all else fails, let the sneeze out!
Treating the underlying causes of sneezing
There are many possible underlying causes of sneezing, so it is important to see a doctor get a proper diagnosis. Possible causes include allergies, the common cold, the flu, sinus infections, and even some forms of cancer. Treatments will vary depending on the underlying cause. Allergies can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines. The common cold and flu can be treated with rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Sinus infections may require antibiotics. More serious conditions like cancer will require more aggressive treatment.
Home remedies to treat sneezing
There are many home remedies that can help to lessen the severity of sneezing and shorten the duration of the symptom. Some simple and effective home remedies include:
-A small amount of honey added to a cup of warm water or tea can help to soothe the throat and ease sneezing.
-Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help to open up the nasal passages and reduce congestion.
-Drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm liquids, will help to thin out mucus and make it easier to expel.
Preventions for sneezing
There are a few things you can do to try to prevent sneezing, including:
-Avoiding known triggers, such as dust, pollen, smoke, or strong smells
-Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
-Keeping your nasal passages clear by using a humidifier or saline nasal spray
-Wearing a face mask when you are around triggers
If you have allergies, you may also need to take allergy medication to help prevent sneezes. If you have a cold or other respiratory infection, the best way to prevent sneezing is to rest and drink lots of fluids.
When to see a doctor?
If your sneezing is accompanied by a fever, chest pain, or shortness of breath, you should see a doctor. These may be signs of a more serious condition. If you have allergies and are sneezing all the time, you may want to see an allergist get relief.
Sneezing is a natural reflex that helps to keep our bodies healthy and free of infection. Although it can be annoying, sneezing is generally not harmful and is simply a way for our bodies to expel unwanted particles.
There are a few things you can do to lessen the severity or frequency of your sneezes, such as avoiding triggers like dust or pollen and keeping your nasal passages clear. If you find yourself sneezing frequently or excessively, it may be worth seeing a doctor rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Overall, sneezing is a normal and healthy bodily function that helps us to stay clean and infection-free. Although it can occasionally be inconvenient, there is no need to worry about Sneezing too much.