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Excessive Sneezing, What Are The Major Causes?

Excessive Sneezing is a sudden, almost explosive release of air through the nose. It is a common response to a number of stimuli and a feature of several conditions that affect the upper part of the respiratory (breathing) tract.

#What is Excessive Sneezing?

Excessive Sneezing is a special form of a cough, the difference being that in coughing the air is expelled through the mouth, while in sneezing the air exits through the nose.

Excessive Sneezing can propel viruses and bacteria to several meters, so using a handkerchief is important to prevent spreading the infection to others.

#What Is The Cause Of Excessive Sneezing?

Excessive Sneezing

Excessive Sneezing is a protective mechanism operating to remove from the nasal passages anything that could be dangerous to the respiratory tract. This requires protection against various impurities in the air, both large and microscopic, that might contaminate, infect, or otherwise damage the air passages and lungs. Sneezing is capable of ejecting particles of all sizes, from viruses to visible fluff or even larger foreign bodies.

#Why Do We Sneeze?

A very deep breath is taken and the vocal cords in the larynx press tightly together.

The diaphragm rises and the chest walls fall so that the air in the lungs is compressed. 3

The tongue is pressed tightly against the roof of the mouth and the mouth closed so that the air exit through the mouth is blocked off.

The soft palate is lowered to open the air route to the nose.

The vocal cords are suddenly separated widely so that a blast of compressed air from the lungs is forced up the throat and out the nose.

#What Happens When We Do Excessive Sneezing?

Excessive Sneezing is a reflex action triggered by the presence of irritating material in the nose. Large particles cause direct physical stimulation; small particles act indirectly by inducing the release of irritating substances. In both cases, however, the reflex starts by stimulation of special receptors located between the cells lining the nose.

When stimulated, these receptors send messages to the breathing centers in the brainstem to initiate a complex series of effects (see box). The nose lining (mucous membrane) is composed of many glands that produce watery secretions and mucus. The rapidly moving outgoing air of the sneeze turns this liquid layer into a spray often containing larger particles of mucus.

This spray may contain millions of viruses or bacteria. The range of these particles may be several meters, so people with consideration for others will always try to limit spread by using a handkerchief or tissue.

#What Are The Causes Of Excessive Sneezing?

sneezing causes

Bacteria and viruses are much too small to act as physical stimuli but the toxins they produce or the effects they have on the cells lining the nose pro-vide adequate stimuli.

One of the commonest causes of persistent sneezing is a nasal allergy. Allergens (particles such as the pollen grains that so commonly cause the sneezing of bay fever or allergic rhinitis) also act indirectly by way of millions of specialized cells known as mast cells that are contained in the nose lining.

The bodies of these cells contain highly irritating chemical substances, the most important being histamine. In people with hay fever, certain antibodies called immunoglobulin class E (IgE) coat the outsides of the mast cells.

Pollen and other grains entering the nose lock on to the IgE and the combination acts as a kind of release valve, allowing histamine and other substances to flow out of the cells. These substances cause the nearby nose lining to become inflamed, swollen and to over-secrete, and this also strongly stimulates the sneeze receptors.

#11 Major Causes Of Sneezing

1The common cold, caused by one of at least 200 rhinoviruses.
2Persistently watering nose (vasomotor rhinitis).
3A retained foreign body in the mode, such as a bead in a child's nostril.
4Exposure to irritating vapors or strong odors.
5Dusty atmospheres.
6Exposure to airborne irritating particles, such as pepper powder.
7Bacterial infection of the nose or sinuses.
8Chronic infection of the insides of the nostrils (vestibulitis).
9Atrophy (wasting away) of the nose lining (atrophic rhinitis).
10Reactions to drugs such as penicillins and iodides.
11Exposure to sudden changes in temperature.

#When Should I See My Doctor?

Persistent Excessive Sneezing for no obvious reason, especially if seasonal and associated with running nose and eyes plus eye irritation, suggests hay fever (a misnomer as the condition is not caused by hay and does not involve fever).

It is best treated by a doctor. If you have a persistently runny nose without the other symptoms of allergy, you may have vasomotor rhinitis and so should visit your doctor. However, a tendency to nasal congestion is to be expected in cold weather.

#What Will The Doctor Do?

sneezing treatment

Your doctor will take a careful history, so as to establish the cause of the sneezing, and may inspect the lining of your nose using a torch and an instrument (nasal speculum) to hold each nostril open.

Antihistamine drugs, sodium cromoglycate sprays, or corticosteroids such as beclomethasone or budesonide nasal sprays are usually effective, against allergic rhinitis. Referral to a specialist may be necessary for other causes of sneezing.

#What Can I Do To Avoid Sneezing?

Excessive Sneezing attacks brought on by allergic rhinitis can be minimized by avoiding exposure to the allergen.

When the pollen count is high, stay indoors when possible, and keep windows shut. Avoid domestic allergens by keeping the house dust levels low, especially in bedrooms.

Ask your pharmacist for a spray to eradicate house dust mites. Mattresses should be vacuum-cleaned regularly. In some cases, it may be helpful to enclose a mattress in a polythene bag.

Freezing pillows every month kills mites. Tiny mites on the hair and feathers of animals often trigger attacks of allergic rhinitis.

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