Do you ever have the feeling that you have to sneeze, after which it only continues to tickle your nostrils, after which you remain with a very unpleasant feeling? Or maybe you want to avoid a sneeze or sneeze well before you have to give a talk, attend a meeting, have dinner, or greet your new love. Whatever the reason, there are several ways you can make yourself sneeze.
Method 1 of 3: Using your sense of smell to induce a sneeze
Step 1. Smell some spices
Smelling certain spices can make you sneeze. Take a look in your kitchen cupboard to see if you have spices such as ground black pepper, cumin, coriander or ground red pepper. You can open the jar and inhale the aroma of the spices, or mix them into a dish and inhale through your nose as you add them.
Grinding up the herbs or spices can also cause you to sneeze. Grind a few peppercorns in a mortar and pestle to induce the sneeze
Step 2. Sniff some paprika or chili powder
Paprika and chili powder are extracted naturally from hot peppers, and are used under the name capsicum in both medicines and pepper sprays. You can buy a bottle with some capsicum extract or look for a product that already has it in it. Do not apply the extract directly to the inside of your nose, as that would cause a burning sensation. Instead, dip a cotton swab against the opening of a bottle of capsicum extract, then hold the swab in front of your nose. Inhale the capsicum scent through your nose.
If you don't have capsicum extract, you can also cut open a hot pepper, such as a jalapeño or chili pepper, and rub the inside with a cotton swab. Then inhale the pepper scent through your nose
Step 3. Smell a glass of fizzy lemonade
Sometimes simply sniffing a bubbly drink, especially if the drink comes from a soda fountain, is enough incentive for you to start sneezing. Simply drinking the fizzy lemonade could also work, but you can also hold the glass directly under your nose and inhale through your nose. This will make you sneeze if it's good.
Make sure that there is still enough fizz in the lemonade. When the injection is out, there may not be enough bubbles in the drink to induce sneezing
Step 4. Open a pack of peppermint-flavored gum
Some people sneeze at the smell of peppermint. If you have a roll of peppermint or a pack of gum nearby, put one in your mouth. While enjoying the chewing gum or mint, inhale the scent; you might sneeze!
- You can also try sniffing a bottle of peppermint essence oil, if you have one at home. Simply open the bottle and inhale the scent of the oil through your nose.
- Smelling peppermint toothpaste can also work. Remove the cap from the toothpaste tube and inhale the scent through your nose.
Method 2 of 3: Fueling your sneeze reflex with other sensory perceptions
Step 1. Tickle your nostrils
You can fool the defenses of your nose and induce a sneeze by gently tickling the inside of your nostrils. The inside of your nose is extremely sensitive to irritation, so stroking the hairs of your nose with a tissue or tissue paper may cause you to sneeze.
- Roll a corner of a tissue or tissue paper into a small point. Stick the tip in your nostril, then twist and twirl the tissue around – it should tickle a bit.
- In the same way you can also stroke the bottom of your nose with a (fake) feather. You don't even have to put the feather in your nose to cause it to get irritated. If you just tickle the outside of your nose, you probably have to sneeze.
- Do not insert anything, not even a tissue or tissue paper, further into your nose than the inside of your nostrils.
- Do not use a barrette or other small, sharp objects to stimulate your nose hairs.
Step 2. Try it by plucking a hair from your eyebrow
Some people have to sneeze as a reflex simply by plucking an eyebrow hair. To see if that also makes you sneeze, take a pair of tweezers and try to pluck one hair from one of your eyebrows. Sometimes this is enough to induce a sneeze.
Grab the eyebrow hair with the tips of the tweezers close to the root and pull the hair out quickly
Step 3. Suddenly look into bright light
About one third of people have a built-in 'photic sneeze reflex'. If you have this reflex, you probably have to sneeze when you suddenly look into bright light. To find out if you're one of those people, it's best to turn off the lights and sit in the dark for a few minutes. Wait a few minutes to let your eyes adjust to the dark, then look toward the light and turn it on.
- You can also close your eyes tightly while out in the sun. Also block the sunlight with your hand. After about two minutes, remove your hand from your eyes and open your eyes. This may make you sneeze.
- This works because the triplet nerve, which controls the sneezing system, runs right along the optic nerve. Over-stimulation of the triplet nerve can cause you to sneeze.
- Never look directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes.
Step 4. Take a deep breath of cold air
Another way to trigger your sneeze reflex is to take a deep breath in the cold air. For example, if you're indoors and it's significantly colder outside, step outside and breathe in the cold air overnight.
- If it's not cold enough outside, you can try opening the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and holding your face in the cold air for a few seconds.
- Yet another way to do this trick is to take a warm shower and then quickly put your head out of the shower and take a deep gulp of cold air.
Method 3 of 3: Reducing the urge to sneeze
Step 1. Rub your nose if it itches
If your nose or the part of your face around your nose itches or tingles, that could be why you feel like you need to sneeze. Quickly rub your nose with the back of your hand. This may reduce or even completely eliminate the feeling of having to sneeze. Press your tongue against your teeth; this will confuse your brain and prevent you from sneezing.
If the itching is severe or does not go away, make an appointment with your doctor. You may be experiencing an allergic reaction
Step 2. Stay away from allergens and irritants
Exposure to allergens and irritating substances, such as dust, mold, chemicals and smoke can make you feel like you have to sneeze. If you are in an environment where there are many allergens or irritants, do something to remove or at least reduce the amount of those substances.
- If you think you might be sneezing because of dust and mold, look for a home air freshener.
- Do not allow people to smoke in your home. Ask them to smoke outside and try to keep their distance if you are around people who smoke.
- Always use chemical agents, such as cleaning agents, in well-ventilated areas. Always open a window and turn on a fan if you have to use chemicals that make you sneeze.
Step 3. Blow your nose or use a decongestant in the form of a nasal spray or nasal drops
A stuffy nose can make you feel like you need to sneeze. If your nose is stuffy, try blowing your nose or taking a decongestant. This should ease your tendency to sneeze.
Step 4. Treat a bad cold effectively
If you have a cold, you will often have to sneeze. Treat the symptoms of your cold by taking cold medicines, blowing your nose regularly, and using cough drops to cool your airways.
- If you have a bad cold and classic cold remedies don't help you, call your doctor. You may need a special prescription medicine to help relieve the symptoms of your cold and speed up your healing.
- You could make an appointment with your doctor to have an allergy test if you think an allergy may be causing you to sneeze all the time. Your doctor can prescribe something (with or without a prescription) that can help.