Phone: 818.986.5500

Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.


What is a sneeze?

A sneeze is a sudden, forceful, involuntary burst of air through the nose and mouth. It is caused by irritation to the mucous membranes of the nose or throat. It can be very bothersome but is generally not a sign of a serious problem.

If the inside of the nose gets a tickle, then the sneeze center alerts all the other muscles that work together to sneeze. Sneezing is a reflex. A reflex is the your body does something automatically and is something that people have no control over.

Why do people sneeze?

Sneezing is a way that the body gets rid of bad things that are in the nose. These things might be bacteria, germs and others. We also sneeze when we smell pepper because the body does not like pepper!

What causes one to sneeze?

Sneezing is caused by the following:

  • Allergy to pollen, mold, dander, dust (hay fever)
  • Corticosteroid inhalation (from certain nose sprays)
  • Nasal irritants such as dust and powders
  • Virus infections (common cold, upper respiratory tract infections, the flu)

What should be done to avoid sneezing?

Avoiding exposure to the offending allergen (any substance that can cause an allergic reaction) is the best way to control sneezing caused by allergies.

Tips to reduce exposure:

  • Change furnace filters
  • Remove pets from the home to eliminate animal dander
  • Travel to areas with low pollen counts
  • Use air filtration devices to reduce pollen in the air
  • Wash linens in hot water (at least 130° Fahrenheit) to temporarily kill dust mites
  • In some cases, moving out of a home with a mold spore problem may be necessary

Sneezing not due to an allergy will disappear when the underlying disorder is cured or treated.

When should a doctor be consulted?

People should call their doctor if sneezing adversely affects their life and home remedies do not work. The medical provider will perform a physical exam and examine the upper respiratory tract. In some cases, allergy testing may be needed to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Antihistamines are the first line of therapy for sneezing caused by allergies. Nasal steroid sprays may be helpful in more chronic conditions.

Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy or hyposensitization, may be considered for seasonal or year-round symptoms that cannot be managed with other drugs because of their side effects.

For innovative, state-of-the art facial plastic and ENT surgical care, come to SoCal ENT. To schedule your one-on-one consultation with Dr. Namazie, please call us at 818.986.5500, or you can use our online Request an Appointment form.




4955 Van Nuys Boulevard, Suite 505, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403   Map & Driving Directions