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You know that feeling when your nose starts to twitch? That’s the start of a sneeze. You might be surprised to find that a sneeze starts with your nervous system. Signals to your brain can travel many different ways along your nerves, which is why some people sneeze with certain triggers while others don’t.

Sneezing Causes & Prevention

There are countless sneezing causes. Here are just a few common sneezing triggers:

  • Colds and allergies
  • Strong odors (e.g., perfume),
  • Chemical irritants (e.g., black pepper)
  • Physical irritants (e.g., sunlight).

The best way to prevent most of these sneezing causes is to avoid exposure the irritants that bother you. If it’s too late and you need to stifle a sneeze, try breathing through your mouth and pinching the end of your nose.

One cause that requires more preventative measures is allergens. Sneezing is one of the most common allergy symptoms. Allergic rhinitis can make you sneeze once, twice or even repeatedly. Find out what’s really going on when you have to sneeze due to an allergy.

Woman sneezing from allergies

Sneezing & Allergy Symptoms

1. The Start

For an allergy, sneezing is often triggered by allergens (e.g., pollen, mold, dust or pet dander) entering your body.

2. The Cause

When you breathe in an allergen, your immune system detects and attacks this (usually harmless) foreign body as if it’s a virus or other harmful invader.

3. The Reaction

As soon as you come into contact with an allergen, your immune cells release a chemical called histamine.

4. The Buildup

When your body reacts to the histamine, your nasal passages swell up, and your nose and throat become itchy.

5. The Sneeze

This is when your brain tells the muscles in your chest to contract. Your eyes and soft palate close, then you sneeze.

Allergic Rhinitis & Sneezing Treatments

For reduced sneezing due to allergic rhinitis, try ZYRTEC®. ZYRTEC® contains an antihistamine to block histamines, which are produced by your body in response to an allergen, helping relieve your worst allergy symptoms, including sneezing.

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