What is sneezing?

Sneezing, or sternutation, is a strong, sudden, uncontrolled burst of air through the nose and mouth. Sneezing is caused by an irritation to the nasal lining or the throat. Usually, sneezing is the result of dust or an allergen entering the nose.

While sneezing is often annoying, it is usually not serious. It may occur as part of an allergic reaction or may accompany an infection or illness. Sneezing may also result from a drug interaction, direct stimulation of the nose, such as by a nasal spray or touching of nasal mucosa, or from some other irritant. Sneezing may also accompany vasomotor rhinitis.

Sneezing generally can be prevented by avoiding irritants, such as dust or other allergens. If sneezing results from allergies or infections, removing the allergen, taking allergy medication, such as antihistamines or nasal sprays, or treating the infection will usually resolve the sneezing.

Seek prompt medical care if your sneezing is persistent, does not respond to treatment, or is causing you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with sneezing?

Sneezing may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.... Read more about sneezingsymptoms


What causes sneezing?

Sneezing is caused by irritation to the nose or throat. Generally, this irritation results from a physical or airborne irritant, such as dust or allergens.... Read more about sneezingcauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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