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5 Simple Ways That Doctors Say Will Make You Sneeze When You Just Can’t


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It’s simple to think you’ll be able to sneeze whenever you want to. After all, there are a ton of things—pollen, bacteria, and more—that are simply floating in the air for you to breathe in frequently. Rarely will you find that you truly struggle to sneeze; your nose tingles and you feel as though you need to, but you just can’t. Now imagine yourself desperately searching for “how to make oneself sneeze” and wondering what on earth is wrong with your nasal passages.

It plays a pretty important role, which explains why being unable to sneeze may cause you to become upset. According to John V. Bosso, MD, an allergist and immunologist who teaches head and neck medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, sneezing is a defensive reaction. He continues, saying that it “allows you to rid the nose of irritants, dirt, allergies, viruses, and bacteria.”

Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, ear, nose, and throat specialist at Mass Eye and Ear in Boston, claims that sneezing is your nose’s way of alerting you that a certain stimulus may be dangerous or irritating

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So why is it that occasionally you’re unable to sneeze when you want to?

Sneezing difficulties are uncommon, but there are a few possible causes, according to doctors. According to Dr. Bhattacharyya, it’s possible that something is genuinely stuck in your nose, such as muck, a small object, or even fungus spores, and your body is just attempting (and failing) to get it out.

Dr. Bosso notes that more serious conditions that could prevent you from sneezing include neurological problems (such as a stroke or brain tumor) and behavioral issues. Of course, it is also possible that you are merely feeling the want to sneeze but your body is resisting.

Dr. Bhattacharyya advises against taking any action if your unexpected inability to sneeze is a new occurrence, it’s not giving you any problems, and you occasionally still manage to sneeze. The majority of individuals will sneeze if they need to, he claims.

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However, there are a few things you can do to take matters into your own hands if you feel as though you really need to sneeze and it’s annoying you that you can’t.

5 Simple Ways That Doctors Say Will Make You Sneeze When You Just Can’t

According to Dr. Bosso, it’s okay “in moderation” to try to make oneself sneeze, but you don’t want to go too far. Experts explain many tricks you might use to get your nose to sneeze once more.

#1. Focus on an intense light

Strange but true: When you unexpectedly expose yourself to strong light, you begin to sneeze. (It is known as photic sneezing, by the way.) Dr. Bosso explains that this “stimulates a neuronal reaction.” However, he cautions that this is a genetic phenomenon that only affects about one-third of the population. In other words, the likelihood that you will sneeze when exposed to a strong light is higher if your parents do. If not, it might not function.

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#2. Detect a strong spice aroma

Pepper, cinnamon, and cayenne are some of the spices that can make you sneeze. Dr. Bosso notes, “It irritates the nasal nerve endings.” According to him, you can see the effects right away, and the majority of people will react. Just be careful not to breathe in the spice directly, because that will burn.

#3. Give your nose a little push

To try to stimulate your nose from the inside, gently put a tissue that has been tightly wound into your nose. According to Dr. Bosso, this tickles the nasal nerve endings and generally works rather rapidly. The Rutgers School of Nursing’s assistant dean for advanced practice, Nadine M. Aktan, PhD, just asks that you keep in mind that “Inserting anything too high up into the nose is not suggested.”

#4. Pull a hair from your nose

Consider this a last-ditch tactic that you should only use once. According to Dr. Bosso, plucking a nose hair can make you sneeze because it activates the trigeminal nerve, a portion of your neurological system that transmits pain, touch, and temperature sensations from your face to your brain. He cautions, though, that “it will hurt.”

#5. Remove some facial hair

Similar to the nose hair trick, this hack According to Aktan, plucking facial hair, such as an errant eyebrow, might also activate your trigeminal nerve and cause you to sneeze. It ought to trigger a sneeze quite soon. Similar to plucking a nose hair, you should only try this a few of times.

Dr. Bhattacharyya says it’s really not a big deal if you occasionally feel like you need to sneeze but are unable to. But if you discover that this keeps happening to you, he advises seeing a doctor so they can try to delve a little deeper into what might be going on.

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