Sneezing or sternutation may be your body’s one of many defence mechanisms but it is irritating, especially when it doesn’t stop or when you frequently get to sneezing! But why do you sneeze? It is because something irritates or tickles the inside of your nose. This tickling sends a message to a special part of your brain known as sneeze center which in turn sends signals to all the muscles needed to perform this very complicated process called sneezing. These muscles then work together and expel out the foreign object out of your nose. And this is an amazingly fast process where sneezing can fly out the tiny particles out of your nose at a speed of up to 100 miles per hour!
Understanding the Causes of Sneezing
Sneezing, most often occur due to allergic reactions to airborne substances like pollen, mold, pet dander or dust that can all cause the well known condition known as allergic rhinitis. When this allergy is due to pollen, it is generally called hay fever or seasonal allergy as it is more common in the spring when the amount of pollen is high in the atmosphere. There is one more cause of sneezing, a funny one! Many people sneeze when they step out in sun or when exposed to bright light! Such people are called photic sneezer and this is a genetic issue where this sneezing habit runs in family. Even if you are not a photic sneezer, you may sometime sneeze when you step out in sun or are exposed to bright light. This is because most of us have some sensitivity to light that can always trigger a sneeze.
Home Remedies to Stop Sneezing
While you can always avoid sneezing as well as allergies by avoiding the triggers and known allergens but it is always not possible to do so. If you go to the doctor, you’ll be handed over such drugs that fall in the category of anti-histamines, decongestants and even nasal steroid sprays! If, however, you are a frequent sneezer or start sneezing at the drop of a hat, you cannot always depend upon the medicines! You cannot always have medicines and that too for sneezing! Why not try home remedies to stop sneezing naturally! Here are some such natural remedies for sneezing for you.
1. Have Stinging Nettle to Stop Sneezing
Stinging nettle is high in iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and D. Apart from being so nutritive, it has astringent, diuretic, tonic, and antihistamine properties too. This makes nettle an effective remedy for allergic rhinitis and relieves you of not only sneezing but also of all the associated symptoms including itchy, watery eyes, as well as runny nose. Nettle will also help you relieve nasal congestion and itchiness in your nose that generally precedes sneezing.
How to have nettle to stop sneezing
You can have it in any form tincture, capsule or tea for 2-3 times a day, particularly during the hay fever season.
- Make nettle tea by steeping the herb in hot water and adding honey, the local honey, if possible. Have 2-3 cups a day.
- Take 1-2 capsules, preferably of freeze-dried nettle extract. Repeat this after every 2-4 hours depending upon the severity of sneezing.
Precaution: Kids lesser than 12 years of age should not be given more than one capsule in a day.
2. Serve yourself a Cup of Chamomile Tea to Stop Sneezing
This yet another herb, chamomile is a natural antihistamine as well as a mild sedative. So, if you have been sneezing all the day long, making a cup of chamomile tea for yourself before bedtime would not only get you rid of sneezing but will also make you sleep better through the night. You may also have it during daytime.
- Dried chamomile flowers- 1 tsp
- Water- 1 cup
- Honey, preferably local- as per taste
- Place the herb in a pot.
- Pour the water over it and bring this to a boil.
- Let it boil for a couple of minutes.
- Strain and add honey.
- Have this tea twice a day.
3. Consume Vitamin C to Stop Sneezing
Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and thus helps lower the production of histamine in your body. As you now know, the allergens urge your body to produce histamines that lead to sneezing and other symptoms of allergy. Therefore, having a glass of lemon juice mixed water or orange juice might help you prevent sneezing. Here are some foods and drinks that you can take to get the daily dose of vitamin C.
- Oranges, lemon, grapefruit or their juices.
- Vegetable having vitamin C.
- Add few drops of lemon juice in your herbal teas.
- Or have Vitamin C in form of capsules or tablets. Consult your doctor for the right dosage.
4. Inhale Steam to Relieve Sneezing
Pollen, dust etc. whatever goes into your nose and irritates it, is identified as a foreign invader by your immune system. It then starts producing antibodies to combat it. These antibodies lead the immune cells to release inflammatory compounds like histamine that cause allergic symptoms like sneezing, runny and stuffy nose. Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose can be easily countered with steam inhalation. This will reduce inflammation as well as relieve stuffiness along with stopping sneezes.
- Hot water- 1 bowl
- Take the bowl of hot water and place it on some even surface like table.
- Sit on a chair and cover your head with the towel.
- Tilt towards the bowl keeping your towel in such position as will cover the bowl too along with your head so that the steam doesn’t escape.
- Don’t take your face too close to the bowl as it may burn your face. Inhale the steam from a safe distance for few minutes.
- This will reduce inflammation and will also clear off your nasal passage of any particles there in, giving you relief from sneezing.
You may also add a few drops of some essential oil to this hot water for faster relief. Our next remedies discuss such oils for sneezing and allergies.
[Also Read: 13 Simple Home Remedies for Allergies]
5. Use Peppermint Oil to Stop Sneezing
There are many essential oils that have just the right combination of properties to stop sneezing and also to cure allergies that cause sneezing. Peppermint oil is one such oil that has excellent antibacterial properties. It also naturally decongests and helps open airways so that you can breathe easily. Easing congestion also stops sneezing.
- Hot water- 1 bowl
- Peppermint oil- 5-6 drops
- Add the peppermint oil to the bowl of hot water.
- Inhale steam coming out of it by covering your head with towel.
- It will clear your nasal passages and stop sneezing.
6. Lavender Oil too Stops Sneezing
Yet another decongestant oil having immune boosting properties, lavender oil is just perfect for sneezing remedy. It not only helps clear congestion but also helps boost your immune system to keep off allergies. It can also weaken the histamine response that causes sneezing.
- Lavender oil- 2 drops
- Cotton ball (optional)
- Dab one drop of Lavender essential oil in both of your nostrils. This may relieve sneezing instantly.
- Alternately, take one drop of lavender essential oil on your finger and swipe it on the inside of your cheek. This helps stop sneezing and also relieves runny nose in just a few minutes.
- You may also smell the oil’s aroma after pouring its drops on a cotton ball if you are uncomfortable with putting oil into your nostrils or inside your cheek.
7. Try Lemon Essential Oil to Relieve Sneezing
Just like the citrus fruits, the citrus oils too can help you relieve the symptoms of seasonal allergies including sneezing. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, lemon oil has strong antioxidant properties and it can clean all toxins from your body including mucous that may be the reason behind your sneezing problem. What more, lemon oil also helps build your immunity.
- Lemon essential oil- 1-2 drops
- Inhale the oil directly or by adding it to hot water and inhaling the steam.
- Diffuse the oil by placing it in a diffuser.
- You may also use it as dietary supplement by adding the drops to some water and drinking it daily.
- Or just apply the oil directly to your nostrils undiluted or after diluting with some other oil like olive oil.
8. Prepare Essential Oils Blend to Stop Sneezing
If you are a habitual sneeze sufferer or often caught by seasonal allergies, you must try a strong remedy by blending all the three essential oils that were just discussed separately. You have seen how they help you relieve sneezing and other allergy symptoms as well as build your immunity so why not use them together!
- Lavender essential oil- 3 drops
- Peppermint essential oil- 3 drops
- Lemon essential oil- 3 drops
- Diffuser (optional)
- Vegetable capsule (optional)- 1
- Local raw honey (optional)- 1 tsp
- Place all the oils in the diffuser and diffuse them.
- Add all of them to the veg capsule and swallow with some water.
- Mix them with raw local honey and have it.
9. Ginger Remedy for Sneezing
Ginger with its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-emetic properties has been a favorite remedy since ancient times for various conditions including allergies. It is one of the oldest remedies for viral diseases and nasal problems including sneezing. Its antihistamine properties help treat allergies that inhibit airway contraction. This leads to clearing of mucus and stops sneezing.
- Fresh ginger root- 1-2 inch piece
- Sieve or a clean cloth
- Wash, peel and crush the ginger root.
- Take the crushed ginger and press it onto a sieve to extract its juice. You may also use a cloth for the purpose.
- Extract 1-2 tsp of ginger juice and have it twice a day.
10. Garlic Remedy for Sneezing
Garlic, the superfood of our times, has excellent anti-bactericidal, anti-viral and anti-allergic properties. If your sneezing is due to common cold, this can be one of the quick home remedies for your sneezing problem too.
- Garlic cloves- 4-5
- Crush the garlic cloves.
- Take the resulting paste onto a spoon or in a small bowl.
- Inhale the strong smell coming out of this garlic paste.
- This will clear of the nasal passage of any mucous or other toxin and you will be able to stop sneezing.
11. Fenugreek Seeds Relieve Sneezing too
Fenugreek provides soothing effect on the mucous membranes of your irritated nose. It relieves its irritation and in the process, breaks up the mucous congestion. This not only stops sneezing but also gives you relief from other symptoms like runny and stuffy nose. In fact, the anti-viral properties of fenugreek seeds can cure cold too.
- Fenugreek seeds- 2-3 tsp
- Water- 1 glass.
- Add the fenugreek seeds to the water and bring it to a boil.
- Let it boil on medium flame till the water remains half of its original quantity.
- Strain and drink this water in sips.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day.
12. Add Quercetin Based Foods in Your Diet and Stop Sneezing
Quercetin, a flavonoid is one of the best anti-histamines provided by nature. It stops your body from producing histamines. No histamine means no sneezing. While you can always get quercetin supplements in one or the other health stores, when talking about natural remedies, why not add certain foods in your daily diet that contain natural quercetin. Here’s the list
- Black tea
- Red onions
13. Rinse Nose with Saline Solution to Prevent Sneezing
When you know that all that dirt, dust, pollens etc. Lodged in your nasal cavities cause sneezing, why let them stay there? Why not rinse them off with saline solution and breathe freely without sneezing. The warm water used to make such saline solution will also soothe your irritated mucus membranes of the nose thus curing inflammation. You will thus not only save yourself from sneezing but also from all the other symptoms of seasonal allergy.
- Salt- 1/2- 1 tsp
- Baking soda (optional)- 1/4- 1/2 tsp
- Warm water- 1-2 cups
- Neti pot/ dropper/ squeeze bottle
- Add salt and baking soda, if using, to the warm water.
- Now fill this warm saline water into the device that you have selected to douche your nose.
- If using a dropper, take in few drops in it and put it into one of your nostrils and drain it off after a couple of seconds. Repeat with the other nostril. Keep on doing for quite a few rounds till you feel relieved.
- If using squeeze bottle, the process remains more or less similar.
- When using neti pot, lean over a bowl or a sink and tilt your head towards one side (right or left).
- Insert the neti pot spout into the nostril that is on upper side towards the ceiling
- Keep your mouth open for breathing while you let the water pour into your nostril.
- Adjust your head and tilt it in a way that the water starts draining off from the other nostril into the sink.
- Now repeat with the other nostril, pouring the saline water and then draining it out from the second nostril that lies downside towards the floor.
- It’s better to learn neti pot usage form some yoga expert.
This saline rinse will keep your nostrils free of any foreign objects and thus stop sneezing from happening in the first place.
14. Oil of Oregano to Stop Sneezing
Due to its strong antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, oil of oregano can relieve pain and inflammation to cure not only sneezing but also the grave condition of sinusitis. Carvacrol and thymol components of oregano oil are also immune boosting ingredients and thus can keep you safe against allergic reactions that cause sneezing.
- Oil of oregano- 2-3 drops
- Fruit juice (any of it like orange juice or apple juice)- 1 glass
- Add the drops of oil of oregano to your choice of juice.
- Have a glass of such juice daily to relieve sneezing, especially the one caused by sinus infection.
[Also Read: 14 Simple Home Remedies for Sinus Infection]
Other Tips to Avoid Allergens and Prevent Sneezing
Apart from all the above home remedies to stop sneezing, it is a good idea to prevent the thing altogether. To prevent your sneezing, the first step that you can take is to avoid all the triggers or the allergens that give you sneeze. Here are some tips to do so.
- Make your home dust-proof. For this, you need to stop using wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, and even feather pillows. These all things catch dust that goes into your nostrils and make you sneeze.
- Wash the curtains of your house frequently with hot water. They not only catch dust and pollens etc. But also have dust mites that can give you severe allergies and continuous sneezing. As you can’t do away with curtains, you need to clean them properly.
- Keep your mattresses covered with dust proof covers.
- Whenever dusting your furniture, use a damp cloth so that the dust doesn’t fly off and enters your nostrils.
- Mop floors with damp mops.
- If possible, invest in an filter that can efficiently remove airborne particles.
- During hay-fever season, avoid going to open spaces like parks etc. Where there are plenty of pollens.
- Stress also leads to compromised immunity and make you allergy prone. Avoid stress to avoid allergy and prevent sneezing too.
- If you are a photic sneezer and sneeze whenever you step out in sun or exposed to bright light, try using sunglasses, scarves etc. to save yourself from sunrays and lights. Try keeping your eyes away from sun or the source of light. Focus on something which is darker.
Some Tricks to Stop Sneezing
Off to some tricks that can take away the urge to sneeze whenever you feel so.
- Using your forefinger and thumb, hold the bridge of your nose. Press it gently just for a few seconds. You need to stop breathing for these few seconds. Now release your nose bridge from the hold of your fingers. By this time, your urge to sneeze has gone away.
- The moment you feel you are about to sneeze, touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Tickle the tongue over this area of your mouth roof just for few seconds. Your sneeze would stop halfway and will not show up.
- Place your index finger and middle finger just below your nostrils while applying firm pressure on the bow of your upper lip. Let it be in this position for about 10 seconds or a little more. Now remove the fingers to find yourself free of sneezing.
- You may also just pinch your upper lip lightly with your thumb and forefinger and press it upward toward your nostrils.
- Just wiggle your ear lobe gently as soon as a sneeze is about to come. Putting light pressure on ears too stop sneezing.
- When you are experiencing continuous sneezing, try to take off your mind from sneezing. The more you focus on the act, the more you will sneeze. Just divert your attention to other things around you so that you beat the urge to sneeze continuously.
Having given you the tricks to stop sneezing, it should also be emphasized that sneezing is a defense mechanism of your body and it saves you from many unwanted things that you don’t want inside your body. Trying to stop sneeze everytime may lead to grave health problems later. Also, sneezing a few times during allergy season is quite normal. This is your body’s way of clearing the irritants from your upper respiratory tract. If you sneeze for just a few times a day, there is no need to adopt home remedies for sneezing or to stop sneezing with tricks. It is only when you sneeze continuously and when sneezing disrupts your daily functioning that you need to take steps to stop sneezing.