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.

Allergy or respiratory symptoms that may occur along with sneezing

Sneezing may accompany other allergic or respiratory symptoms including:


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.

In cases in which your sneezing is caused by allergies, avoiding allergens or taking over the counter allergy medication may help resolve the sneezing. In other cases, sneezing may require treatment by a medical professional. Read more about sneezingcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 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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