How to Stop a Sneeze

Three Methods:Stopping an Impending SneezeSneezing Less OftenHaving Good Sneeze Habits

Sneezing is a natural body mechanism. In many cultures it is frowned upon as a social gaffe, especially if one doesn't have a tissue handy. Nevertheless, many people will want to stop a sneeze for various reasons, including the world record holder who, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, had a sneezing fit for 977 days, and produced more than a million sneezes.

Method 1
Stopping an Impending Sneeze

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    Squeeze your nose. Catch the part of your nose above the tip and stretch it out as if you are removing your nose out of your face. It should not be painful, but simply stretch out your cartilage, stopping the sneeze.
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    Blow your nose. Use a tissue and blow your nose when you feel a sneeze coming on. It should clear your sinuses of what caused the sneeze in the first place.
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    Pinch your upper lip. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch your upper lip lightly and press it upward toward your nostrils. Your thumb should head toward one nostril and your forefinger toward the other, bunching up your upper lip slightly.
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    Use your tongue. Press your tongue behind your two front teeth, where the roof of your mouth meets the gum palate or alveolar ridge. Press hard with your most powerful muscles against your teeth until the tickling sensation dissipates.
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    Stop, drop, and wait. Find a small table anywhere in your home, hold your face about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the top of the table and stick your tongue out; the sneeze should subside naturally. It takes about 5 to 7 seconds. If it doesn't work, at least, whoever's around will get a good kick out of it!
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    Get ticklish. Tickle the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue when you feel the sneeze coming on. Continue until the urge to sneeze dissipates. This should take 5 to 10 seconds.
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    Distract yourself with your hands. Spread the thumb of one hand away from the fingers. Using the sharp edges of the nails on the thumb and index finger of your other hand, pinch the flap of skin between the spread thumb and the fingers.
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    Grab the spot between your eyebrows. This is a pressure point that some grab to stop a headache, and it can work with sneezes, too. With your thumb and forefinger, pinch between your eyebrows until you feel a substantial amount of pressure.
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    Pinch under your nose. With the side of your forefinger (hand held horizontally beneath your eyes), press into the cartilage on your nose, just beneath the bone of the bridge of your nose. This will pinch one of the nerves involved in triggering a sneeze.
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    Put light pressure on your ears. Wiggle your ear lobe gently as you feel a sneeze coming on. This can be masked as looking like you are playing with an earring or something if you're stifling a public sneeze.
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    If you see someone about to sneeze, or if they state that they feel a sneeze coming on, say something absurd; sometimes the brain will 'forget' about the sneeze.
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    Get angry. Clench your teeth together, but try to stick out your tongue (use the muscle to push against the back of your front teeth). Push as hard as you can! The stimulation may stop the sneeze from materializing.
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    Use black seed (black cumin). You can buy this online or at your local vitamin/herb shop. Take a handful and wrap it in a cloth—handkerchief, washcloth, etc.—then roll it in your hand to break it up a little bit. Hold this next to your nose and inhale it for a few breaths. Your sneezing should clear right up!

Method 2
Sneezing Less Often

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    Quit setting yourself up for sanitation. That's right -- sanitation. It's a legitimate medical disorder where you can't stop sneezing because your stomach is full. It generally happens immediately after consuming quite a large meal. So how do you avoid it? Don't eat so much.
    • In case you're as curious as George, it's a backronym -- Sneezing Non-controllably At a Time of Indulgence of the Appetite—a Trait Inherited and Ordained to be Named. Originally it was a portmanteau of sneeze and satiation.[1] Now that you know it's a real thing monitor your eating activity. When do you usually find yourself sneezing?
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    Know if you suffer from "sun sneezing." If you find that you sneeze when exposed to bright lights, you could have photoptarmosis or the photic sneeze reflex. It's present in a remarkable 18-35% of people and is sometimes referred to as ACHOO - Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome. The more you know, right? It's hereditary and can be treated with antihistamines if it's inconvenient.[2]
    • Otherwise, wear sunglasses (polarized, especially) or scarves. If bright lights (or the sun) are present, keep your eyes away and focus on something darker or more neutral. This is doubly important if you are operating a motorized vehicle.
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    Be prepared. If you're entering a high sneeze-risk environment (say a cloud of pepper or a field of pollen), take precautions to keep your sneezing fits at bay.
    • Keep a tissue on hand. Often sneezing and blowing your nose go hand in hand.
    • Have a way to wet your nostrils. This can stop sneezing fits before they start. Though snorting water is definitely a feasible option, you may want to stick with wetting a tissue and applying to your nostrils, using your eyedrops, or sniffing the steam from a cup of coffee.[3]
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    Keep the allergens at bay. For those of us that don't suffer from the completely random sneeze attack and are privy to more constant bouts, it may be more of an environmental thing. In addition to talking to your doctor, be allergy smart. A certain amount of sneezing can be prevented.
    • Get on antihistamines. Not only will these fight sneezing, but they'll keep the coughing, runny nose, and itchy eyes away to boot. Benadryl is known to induce drowsiness, but other medications, like Claritin, have significantly fewer side effects.[4]
    • Keep your windows and doors closed. This goes for your home and in your car. The less exposure you have to allergens the better. The outside needs to stay outside.[4]
    • If you've been outside for a long time, take a shower and change your clothes. You may have dragged in those pollen buggers with you.[4]

Method 3
Having Good Sneeze Habits

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    Know when not to stop a sneeze. A sneeze, known technically as a sternutation, is a major deal for the body. The typical sneeze removes air from your body at speeds up to 100 mph (160 km/h), tremendous velocities that can cause serious injury if incorrectly stifled. That's why you should never try to stop a sneeze that is in progress.
    • For example, do not hold your nose or block your mouth while sneezing. Doing so can cause serious injury. The force and velocity of the average sneeze, if prevented from ejection from the body, can eventually cause hearing loss and damage the blood vessels in your head, especially if you make a habit of stopping a sneeze when it's already begun.
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    Sneeze healthily. If you're around others, you risk spreading harmful bacteria when you let one (or two or three or maybe even four) out into the air. The "spray" you emit can reach up to 5 feet (1.5 m) away from you! That's a radius that encompasses a lot of people. So be careful!
    • If you can, sneeze into a tissue and dispose of the tissue. If a tissue isn't available, sneeze into your sleeve. If you do end up sneezing into your hands, be sure to wash them afterward. Your hands touch doorknobs, your face, surfaces, and other people constantly. And, if you happen to be away from water, carry hand sanitizer to save the day.[5]
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    Sneeze politely. When you're in a group of people, you'll surely be given the evil eye if you wind up for a sneeze and deliver with flying success. You're spreading germs and disrupting the flow, so it's best to sneeze as discretely as possible.
    • Sneezing into your elbow can diffuse the sound. If that's not an option, grab a tissue, tilt your head down, and sneeze as quietly as possible.
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    Sneeze safely. If you have a broken rib, a sneeze can hurt very badly. Exhale as much air from your lungs as you can. This will reduce the amount of pressure placed on your ribs and weaken the sneeze greatly, and the pain will be less.
    • Really, if anything in your core hurts, a sneeze can be the last thing you want to encounter. Take the precautions listed above, but concentrate on the exhale. With little air to expel, your insides won't lurch, preventing the sneeze from having a longer-lasting effect.


  • Make it a habit to carry a tissue or handkerchief with you at all times, so that you don't feel the need to withhold a sneeze unnecessarily.
  • When you're about to sneeze just say pumpkin or pineapple. Much easier than all of those steps.
  • The photic sneeze reflex can also cause one to sneeze many times consecutively. The condition occurs in 18% to 35% of humans, with more common occurrences in Caucasians than others. The condition is passed along genetically as an autosomal dominant trait. The probable cause is a congenital malfunction in nerve signals in the trigeminal nerve nucleus.
  • It helps to put salt in your nose.
  • If you do sneeze, take precautions not to spread disease. Many doctors now recommend sneezing into the inside of the elbow rather than the hands to discourage the spread of germs. At the very least you should cover your mouth and nose so as to prevent the spraying germs into the air. You can blow mucus into a tissue then wash your hands as soon after as possible to prevent the spreading of your disease.
  • If you feel like you're going to sneeze, have a packet of tissues (In case you sneeze more then once)
  • If you are near a person, make a bowl with your hands and put it to your lips, so you don't spread germs. Pinch your nose.
  • If you are going to sneeze, don't use your hands or tissues. Sneeze into your elbow so that fewer germs will be spread to those around you.
  • Another way to stop an incoming sneeze is to bite (not hard) your inner bottom lip.


  • Holding your sneeze inside or trying to stop it while it is happening may cause you a pneumomediastinum which is very dangerous.
  • Stifling a sneeze can be dangerous to your health. See the External Links below for more extreme cases of injury caused by stopping a sneeze.
  • Holding in a sneeze can cause damage such as injury to the diaphragm, breaking a blood vessel and in extreme cases, it could even weaken a blood vessel in the brain and cause it to rupture due to the momentary elevation of blood pressure.

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