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A reflex of the nasal passages, sneezing is one way the body rids itself of irritants. It’s hard to know what a sneeze means, but there are some deductions you can make.
Evaluate the force of your sneeze. A weak sneeze indicates that a tiny bit of irritant may be tickling you. A strong sneeze means a big irritant.
Examine your tissue for discharge. Did you expel anything when you sneezed? If not, the sneeze was probably caused by an environmental irritant or bright light, which stimulates the optic nerve.
Look at the color and consistency of the discharge if you did expel. Green; yellow; rust-colored; or thick, globby nasal discharge indicates infection. Clear discharge can mean an allergy or the beginning of a cold or flu. Runny, watery discharge points to allergies or a cold draining.
Consider frequency. Repeated short, weak sneezes without significant discharge indicate allergies. Off-and-on sneezing, along with a handkerchief full of white or colored discharge, means you’re fighting an infection.
Check the pollen and mold spore count. If those levels are high, your sneezes may be allergy induced.
Think back on what you did earlier in the day. Clean the house? Mow the grass? Paint furniture? Frequent sneezing after doing certain chores indicates allergies.
Check your temperature. A fever in the presence of frequent sneezing indicates an upper respiratory infection or flu.
Consider whether you might be pregnant. Unexplained sneezing has been associated with the hormonal changes in pregnancy.
Sometimes people sneeze for no discernible reason. However, consistent sneezing, may be a sign of an allergic reaction to an unknown trigger.
When you start to sneeze, don’t hold it back. Let the air explode out into a tissue. Trying to suppress a powerful sneeze can cause your inner ears to pop or can spray bacteria into your sinuses and ears.