Ever wonder why our nose tickling is followed by uncontrollable sneezing fits? Well, that’s our body’s way of protecting us from anything wrong as soon as it enters. In medical terms, sneezing is an involuntary reflex caused by irritating our nasal mucus walls in response to a foreign agent. To eliminate the unfamiliar trigger, the body expels air from the lungs through the nose resulting in a sneeze. Yes, a lot happens in 0.06 to 0.3 seconds, the average of your sneezing.
So, keep reading to learn about your nonstop sneezing in this blog.
Why do I keep sneezing? Potential Causes and Triggers
Sneezing is a forceful expulsion of air from the nose triggered by our immune system to eliminate the triggering agent. It is an involuntary action to protect our respiratory health from harmful triggers. Here are some potential causes of sneezing:
Ever felt phobic of something? Height, spiders, cockroaches, or even that cute puppy that wants to play with you. These are the things that may be normal to one person and are terrifying to another. Allergies operate in the same way. It occurs when your immune system identifies something as harmful and reacts to it even when it’s usually harmless.
For example, fungus molds, dust, nuts, pollens, and some scents are common allergens. So, next time you wonder, “Why do I sneeze so many times in a row?” check for triggers or consult a doctor for your allergy test.
Some environments, like dusty atmospheres or pollens during spring/allergy season, cause many people to sneeze continuously. As per CDC stats, 25.7% of people in the US are diagnosed with seasonal allergies. Rhinitis or Hay fever are alternative names for pollen allergies.
Various substances can irritate your nasal passages and cause a sneezing attack.
Some people are allergic to smoke, especially cigarette smoke, often caused by passive smoking. In contrast, others found themselves with runny noses and sneezing around strong scents in perfumes, chemicals, cleaning products, or certain foods.
Viral and Bacterial Infections
While most of the culprits of a runny nose are viruses like Rhinovirus, which causes flu or cold, some bacteria can also cause sneezing fits, like Haemophilus influenzae causing sinus infections. Viral infections last 7-10 days, while bacterial infection persists a bit longer—these infections, in addition to sneezing, cause other symptoms like nasal congestion, fever, and coughing.
Sneezing can also be triggered by certain medicines that may have the flu or allergy side effect due to specific bioactive components. Studies show that bright light or sudden temperature changes can also cause sneezing. This happens because bright light constricts pupils and causes mucous secretion, which initiates sneezing.
Why do I sneeze after I eat?
We often eat something perceived as harmful by our body or eat too fast that some pieces of food get stuck in our airways which can cause sneezing as a way the body uses to protect you from harmful consequences. Various possible reasons can trigger post-eating or during-meal sneezing; here are a few prominent ones:
Gustatory Rhinitis is a non-allergic reaction to specific foods, including spicy foods, alcohol, hot beverages, or extremely hot or cold foods that trigger the nasal nerves and cause sneezing. Although this condition is not associated with allergies, it can give you an excellent runny nose and a lot of sneezing. So next time you munch on that Tabasco or Sriracha sauce, notice if you are sneezing after eating.
Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Some foods cause mild to severe allergic reactions, including wheat allergies (gluten allergy), dairy allergies (lactose intolerance), Nut allergies, etc. While some of these can cause swelling, itching, and hives, many can cause sneezing and runny nose in addition to those symptoms as an allergic response by the immune system.
Nervous System Response
The parasympathetic nervous system regulates our normal body functions, from eating, digestion, and breathing to heart rate. Chances are that during eating, it is activated, and you sneeze as a reflex action. This response is not fully understood, but the goal is to clear the airways for optimal breathing and respiration.
The medical term for snatiation, a combination of sneezing and satiation, is “ACHOO Syndrome,” short for an autosomal dominant compelling helio-ophthalmic outburst. It is a condition when a person sneezes in response to being satiate after eating a large meal. It is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, as many genes play a role in this condition, but underlying mechanisms are still unknown.
Why do allergies cause sneezing fits?
If you are wondering why can’t you stop sneezing or why they occur in an endless series, it occurs mainly in response to allergens. Allergens, rather than viruses or bacteria, cause sneezing fits. The reason is the constant push from our immune system to flush out the allergy-causing particles from your airways through the nose. Common allergy symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, itching or watery eyes, coughing, and fatigue.
Effective Ways to Stop Sneezing: Tips and Remedies
Sick of sneezing all the time? Here’s to put a stop to those sneeze attacks!
- Fill your first-aid with over-the-counter medications to tackle runny noses and sneezing caused by allergies or colds.
- Go natural! Try drinking fluids, using saline nasal sprays, warm compresses, or steam inhalation to relieve sneezing and nasal congestion.
- Flush away the irritants with nasal irrigation using a neti pot or saline rinse. Say goodbye to persistent sneezing!
- Or are you feeling like you have to sneeze but can’t? Try holding your nose to avoid it, or tickle the inside of your nose to sneeze out.
- Avoid triggers like allergens, strong scents, or cigarette smoke. Create an allergy-friendly environment by keeping windows closed, using air purifiers, and keeping things clean.
Take charge and bid farewell to those sneezing fits. Get ready for some sneeze-free days ahead!
How to stop sneezing from allergies?
Tired of your allergies making you sneeze nonstop? Consider these tips as the best medicine for runny nose and sneezing:
- Get to the bottom of it with allergy testing. Identify your triggers and take control of your sneezing by knowing precisely what you’re allergic to.
- Arm yourself with allergy medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids. They’ll help you tackle sneezing, runny nose, and congestion, providing much-needed relief.
- Consider immunotherapy, the ultimate game-changer for long-term allergy relief. It desensitizes your immune system to allergens, so you can bid farewell to sneeze and enjoy a life free from allergies.
Don’t let sneezing ruin your day. Take charge, kick those allergies to the curb, and breathe freely again!
Sneezing five times a day is considered normal and healthy; however, if the number exceeds 20 times a row, you may want to check yourself for potential allergies. Avoid allergy-causing environments or eating those foods that trigger recurrent sneezing, or consult a doctor to get it checked on what causes your allergy in the first place.
No, you cannot sneeze in your sleep as all the related reflexes are paralyzed during sleep and decreased consciousness. However, sneezing, in contrast, requires some level of consciousness to react to the irritation in the nasal caused by the allergen.
There are various causes of continuous sneezing and runny nose, including allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, viral or bacterial infection causing flu or cold or environmental factors like dust.
It is an involuntary condition caused by your immune system responding to an irritant. As a result, your body flushes out air from the lungs through the nose to expel the allergen or foreign particle that triggered the response in the first place.
It does not necessarily mean you are getting better because sneezing can occur at any stage of an illness at the start, peak, or even recovery. It is a reflex action in response to irritation caused by the allergen or foreign particle.