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Your nose just clocked in at 100 mph

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Sneezing is reflex reaction that usually occurs with the common cold, flu, inhaling an allergen or even just tickly dust irritating the inside of your nose. Either way, the point of a sneeze is to try and get whatever’s bothering the inside of your nose out!

What causes sneezing?

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When you breathe in, you take in more than oxygen. You can breathe in dust, allergens, bacteria and viruses floating around in the air.

Sometimes something you breathe in will irritate the inside of your nose. Things like dust or dirt will tickle the mucus membranes that line your nose and throat. Whatever irritating thing you breathed in will stimulate nerves inside your nasal passage. Signals are then sent to your brain to trigger a reflex reaction (a sneeze).

How to help stop sneezing

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If your sneezing is caused by an infection, like a cold or the flu, it will likely clear up within a few days along with your other symptoms.

If your sneezing is caused by allergies, there are a few precautionary steps you can take:


Minimize your exposure to things you know will trigger your allergies by:

  • Keeping your home dry with a dehumidifier
  • Bathing your pets regularly with an anti-dander shampoo
  • Reducing dust and mold in your home
  • Removing plants that make your symptoms worse


If pollen counts are high:

  • Avoid outdoor tasks like cutting the grass or raking leaves
  • Plan outdoor activities for early mornings and late afternoons
  • Consider wearing an allergy mask when you go outside
  • Change clothes and shower after returning indoors

How Mucinex® products can help


If your sneezing is caused by allergies, you will want a medicine with an antihistamine, like non-drowsy fexofenadine (or diphenhydramine HCl for nighttime use). which works by blocking the effects of histamine, the chemical that causes allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. Consider them your own personal allergy bodyguards, ever ready to keep those unpleasant allergy symptoms out of your nose, head and throat!

You may also develop a stuffy nose and nasal congestion along with your sneezing.You’ll want to use a nasal decongestant, like pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine or oxymetazoline. These decongestants will shrink the mucus membranes in your nose that are swollen and inflamed that make you feel stuffy.

Oxymetazoline is also a decongestant, but it is only found in nasal sprays. Oxymetazoline is what is known as a “topical nasal decongestant.” That means it needs to be applied to the affected area rather than taken as a pill or liquid.

Some of these medicines may only be available behind your pharmacist’s counter. Some of these medicines also carry risks if abused. If you’re a parent, learn more about medicine abuse and how to combat it.

Use as directed.


When Should I Call My Doctor?

  1. If you have severe allergy symptoms
  2. If you’ve tried over-the-counter medicine and it doesn’t work
  3. If over-the-counter medicine worked before, but no longer does

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