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A sneeze is simply a sudden, forceful burst of air through the nose and mouth that occurs when foreign particles or irritants hit the mucous membrane of the nose and throat. And you sneeze in order to forcibly remove the particles from the nasal cavity.
It’s no biggie cause everyone sneeze right? Not entirely.
Sure it’s normal when it’s a single occurrence. But what about when you just can’t control those oh-so-frequent sneezing attacks? Then you may a condition known as Allergic rhinitis.
In an allergy, your body’s immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe, like pollen from plants of animal dander. The particles are called allergens, which simply means they can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing “uncontrollably” and a runny, itchy nose.
“We’re trying to clear whatever is in our nasal passages, so typically people with allergies will sneeze more often because that allergen is still around.” - Dawn Zacharias, an allergist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland
If you have allergic rhinitis, you will most probably experience symptoms such as:
Uncontrollable sneezing, especially after waking up in the morning
Postnasal drip accompanied by a runny nose. The drainage from a runny nose caused by allergies is usually clear and thin but it may become thicker and cloudy or yellowish if you get a nasal or sinus infection.
Itchy and watery eyes.
Itchy ears, nose, and throat.
In most cases, people with allergies suffer these symptoms for many years, either all year round or just at certain times. You may also get other problems such as sinusitis and ear infections as a result of your allergies.
If you are allergic to pollens, you may have symptoms only at certain times of the year. If you are allergic to dust mites and indoor allergens, you may have symptoms all the time.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for allergic rhinitis. One of the best things you can do is to avoid exposure to allergens.
What you can do:
Clean your house often
Change your furnace filters
Stay indoors when pollen counts are high
Don’t have pets at home if you are allergic to animal dander
Wash linens in very hot water ( at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit ) to kill dust mites
Install a good air purifier to decrease the likelihood of frequent sneezing
You may also take over-the-counter medicines (eg. antihistamines) to treat your symptoms at home. But if your allergies bother you a lot and you can’t avoid the things you’re allergic to, immunotherapy (eg. allergy shots) may help prevent or reduce your symptoms. Talk to your doctor to get the best possible solutions.
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Cigna.com. (2017). Allergic Rhinitis | Cigna. [online] Available at: https://www.cigna.com/individuals-families/health-wellness/hw/medical-topics/allergic-rhinitis-hw33436.
Vicks.com. (2019). Vicks. [online] Available at: https://vicks.com/en-us/treatments/how-to-treat-sneezing/how-to-help-stop-sneezing.
Grush, L. (2015). Here's Why You Almost Always Sneeze More Than Once. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/why-we-sneeze-so-many-times-in-a-row-2015-1?IR=T.
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