While it’s a completely natural bodily function, sneezing becomes annoying when you experience frequent sneezing fits. Here’s what you need to know about what causes these chronic fits and what you can do to stop sneezing.
What Triggers Uncontrollable Sneezing Fits?
There can be many triggers that lead to uncontrollable sneezing fits. In some cases, allergies may be the culprit of your sneezing fits, especially if you experience other allergy symptoms. These symptoms can include itchy eyes, congestion, and a runny nose.
During seasonal allergy season, airborne triggers like pollen are found in higher concentrations, which can induce chronic sneezing. If these fits occur in the home, allergens from pets and dust may be the reason.
Besides Allergies, Why Can’t You Stop Sneezing?
Not all sneezing fits are related to allergies. Learn about the difference causes to find out what is causing your sneezes. Other common causes of sneezing fits include:
Cold or Sinus Infection
Sinus infection can cause sneezing. If you have a cough, fatigue, runny nose, and fever along with your sneezing fit, contact your doctor to see if you have an infection.
Particles in the air can irritate your nose, causing uncontrollable sneezing. Dirt, dust, and smog can also inflame your sinuses, further triggering sneezing.
Dry sinuses are prone to sneeze-causing irritation. If you live in a dry climate or are exposed to air conditioning for periods of time, dryness may be why you can’t stop sneezing.
Nasal sprays like Flonase are often used to treat allergy symptoms, but they can also cause sneezing fits. If your nasal spray is making you sneeze, you may notice throat irritation or a stinging sensation in your nose.
Nasal polyps can cause sneezing by obstructing the airflow in the nasal passages, irritating the tissues, and triggering the reflex action of sneezing. The sneezing reflex is a natural defense mechanism that helps to clear the nasal passages of irritants, such as dust, pollen, or other particles that can cause irritation.
In the case of nasal polyps, they can grow large enough to block airflow in the nasal passages, causing irritation and triggering the sneezing reflex. In addition, the presence of nasal polyps can also cause inflammation in the nasal passages, leading to increased sensitivity to irritants and a greater likelihood of sneezing.
Why Do Allergies Cause Sneezing Fits?
Sneezing is the body’s way of removing particles and irritants from the nasal passages. For instance, bacteria and viruses irritate nasal tissue on contact, triggering a sneeze to expel them from the nose. But harmless particles like dust, dander, and pollen can also trigger sneezing due to allergic reactions.
How Do I Stop Sneezing Fits?
If allergies are causing your sneezing fits, the fastest way to find relief is to use an antihistamine. This medication is used to treat allergy symptoms, but if taken early, it can also prevent them from occurring.
You can use nasal sprays to treat sneezing and allergies. But if you are still noticing sneezing or irritation after use, you may want to try an oral antihistamine instead.
Choosing an antihistamine often comes down to personal preference, but the most popular include:
- Fast-acting antihistamine
- Causes drowsiness
- Safe for ages 6 and up
- Non-drowsy antihistamine
- Not recommended for children under 12
- Takes 1-2 hours to take effect
- Non-drowsy antihistamine
- Safe for ages 6 and up
- Takes 1-3 hours to reduce symptoms
Tips to Handle Sneezing Attacks
No matter what’s causing your sneezing fits, there are things you can do to reduce their frequency and duration.
First, make sure to avoid potential triggers when possible. If you can’t avoid them, then prepare for them. For instance, if cat dander makes you sneeze, avoid petting cats or take an antihistamine when you know you’re going to be around a feline.
When dryness is a problem, use a humidifier to combat dry air. If it’s poor air quality, keep windows closed and wear a mask outdoors. These measures also help when pollen levels are high.
When to See a Doctor
While occasional sneezing is usually not a cause for concern, uncontrollable sneezing can indicate an underlying health condition. In such cases, it is essential to seek medical attention.
Here are some of the reasons why you should see a doctor for uncontrollable sneezing:
- Persistent or worsening symptoms: Your sneezing may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nasal congestion, loss of smell or taste, facial pain or pressure, postnasal drip, or a persistent cough. In this case, it may signify a condition such as allergies, a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection.
- Interference with daily activities: If your sneezing is uncontrollable to the point that it interferes with your daily activities, such as work or sleep, see a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.
- Allergic reactions: If you have a history of allergies, and your sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms such as hives, swelling, and itching eyes, nose, or throat, it may be a sign of an allergic reaction.
- Chronic sinusitis: If your sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms such as nasal congestion, facial pain or pressure, and a persistent headache, it may be a sign of chronic sinusitis, a condition that requires medical attention.
- High fever: Your sneezing may be accompanied by a high fever, shortness of breath, severe headache or neck pain, vision changes, or weakness or numbness on one side of the body. In this case, you should see a doctor immediately.
A doctor can help diagnose the cause of your sneezing and provide appropriate treatment, which may include medications, lifestyle changes, or in some cases, surgery.
Your doctor will start by asking about your symptoms and perform a physical examination to check for any physical signs of an underlying condition, such as nasal congestion, facial pain or pressure, and postnasal drip. From here, they’ll decide which testing method to use to get a clear diagnosis. Here are some diagnosis methods they may use.
- Allergy testing: Allergy testing can help determine if your sneezing is caused by an allergic reaction to a specific substance, such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. Allergy testing can be done through skin prick, blood, or at-home allergy tests, such as the Wyndly at-home allergy test.
- Nasal endoscopy: A nasal endoscopy is a procedure in which a small, flexible tube with a light is inserted into your nose. It allows your doctor to see inside your nasal passages and determine if there is an obstruction, such as nasal polyps, causing your sneezing.
- Imaging tests: In some cases, the doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans to get a better view of your nasal passages and sinuses.
The Wyndly at-home allergy test is an easy and convenient way to diagnose allergies from the comfort of your home. This test uses a small finger prick to collect a sample of your blood, which is then sent to a lab for analysis. The results are then sent to allergy doctors, who provide a diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan.
How to Get Long-Term Allergy Relief
If allergy-induced sneezing fits drive you crazy, Wyndly can help! Our allergy doctors not only help you to pinpoint the sneezing triggers at the root of your problem, but they suggest solutions and develop a personalized treatment plan just for you.
Take our quick online assessment to see if Wyndly is right for you and be one step closer to an allergy-free life!