Sneezing is an involuntary reflex action that help you throw irritates out of your nasal passages.

It is your natural defence mechanism to expel dirt, dust or other particles from the your nose and throat.

Your sneeze can also cause other airborne particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to spread, so it’s important to practice good hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze.

What is Sneezing?

Sneezing, also known as sternutation, is an involuntary reflex that expels air from the lungs through the mouth and nose, usually in response to irritation in the nasal passages.

This rapid expulsion of air helps to remove irritants and clear the nasal passages, providing relief as well as maintaining respiratory health.

Why Do We Sneeze?

The primary purpose of sneezing is to expel unwanted substances from your nasal cavity and maintain proper airflow.

The sneezing process begins when sensory nerves, specifically the trigeminal nerve, in the nasal mucosa are activated. The nasal mucosa is the moist lining within the nasal cavity, responsible for producing mucus that helps protect and moisturise the nasal passages.

These nerves send signals to the brain, which then triggers a coordinated response involving various muscles. The diaphragm, chest and throat muscles contract, while the soft palate and uvula move to direct air through the nose.

Finally, the muscles around the eyes may also contract, causing them to close involuntarily during the sneeze.

Is it Good to Sneeze?

Yes indeed, as it is a vital part of your immune function.

It is an essential mechanism for maintaining your airways free of irritates. It helps you to:

  • Remove irritants and allergens from your nasal passages
  • Prevent mucus buildup and potential infections
  • Expel foreign particles and microorganisms

What Causes You to Sneeze?

Sneezing can be triggered by various factors, such as:

  • Allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mites
  • Irritants like smoke, strong odors and pollution
  • Viral infections like the common cold or flu
  • Bright light or sudden exposure to sunlight (photic sneeze reflex)
  • Nasal congestion or inflammation
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Ingesting corticosteroids via a nasal spray

Home Remedies

Keep in mind that home remedies may provide temporary relief, but it’s essential to consult with your doctor if your sneezing is persistent, severe or accompanied by other symptoms.

Here is a list of home remedies that may help alleviate your sneezing:

Steam Inhalation 

Inhale steam from a bowl of hot water or use a humidifier to help clear nasal congestion and soothe irritated nasal passages.

Saline Nasal Spray

Use a saline nasal spray or make your own saline solution to flush out irritants and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.

Herbal Teas

Drink warm herbal teas, such as chamomile, ginger or peppermint, which may help soothe the throat and reduce sneezing.


Consume a teaspoon of honey or mix it with warm water or tea to soothe the throat and potentially reduce sneezing caused by allergies.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine. Increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods, like oranges, strawberries and bell peppers, to boost your immune system and help reduce sneezing from colds or allergies.


Add foods rich in quercetin, like apples, onions and dark berries, to your diet. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine that may help reduce sneezing due to allergies.

Eucalyptus Oil

Inhale eucalyptus oil by adding a few drops to a diffuser or a bowl of hot water. Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties that may help reduce your sneeze.

Eat Fish

Tuna, salmon and mackerel contain inflammation-reducing Omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming two servings of fish weekly may help reduce allergic rhinitis.


Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and maintain healthy mucus production in the nasal passages.

Maintain a Clean Environment

Regularly clean your home, especially bedding and carpets, to minimise exposure to allergens and irritants that can trigger a sneeze.

Avoid Allergens

Identify and avoid exposure to allergens, such as pollen or pet dander, that may cause you to sneeze.

Medications for Your Sneeze

These following medications can help alleviate your sneezing, particularly when it’s related to allergies or colds.

Always consult with your before starting any medication.


These medications counteract the effects of histamine, a substance released during an allergic reaction that can cause sneezing.

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Loratadine (Claritin)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)


These drugs help reduce nasal congestion, which can contribute to sneezing.

  • Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sudafed PE)

Nasal Corticosteroids

These are anti-inflammatory sprays that can help reduce inflammation and sneezing caused by allergies.

  • Fluticasone (Flonase)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)
  • Budesonide (Rhinocort)
  • Triamcinolone (Nasacort)

Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists

These medications block the action of leukotrienes, chemicals that contribute to inflammation and allergy symptoms.

  • Montelukast (Singulair)

Mast Cell Stabilisers

These medications help prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

  • Cromolyn sodium (NasalCrom)

Combination Medications

Some medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant for multi-symptom relief.

  • Loratadine/pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D)
  • Fexofenadine/pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D)

Consult your doctor to determine the most appropriate medication for your specific needs and to discuss any potential side effects or interactions with other medications you may be taking.

What to Do When You Sneeze?

To minimise the spread of germs when sneezing, follow these simple tips:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow
  • Dispose of used tissues immediately and wash your hands
  • If a tissue is unavailable, sneeze into the crook of your elbow
  • Avoid touching your face to prevent the spread of germs
  • Remember to wash your hands after you sneeze, if you used them to cover your face


Sneezing is an important defence mechanism of the body which helps prevent irritants from entering the respiratory system.

However, some individuals may be more sensitive to these irritants than others, leading to excessive sneezing.

Fortunately, sneezing is rarely a sign of a serious medical condition and can be managed with lifestyle changes and techniques to minimise it.


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Sources: Healthline (1, 2), Medical News Today, WebMD (1, 2), Merck Manuals, Medline Plus, CDC.