Sneezing may be the result of COVID-19, although its link to the disease is unclear. However, sneezing is also common in other conditions, such as the flu, a cold, or allergies.

Sneezing is the body’s way of expelling an irritant that interacts with the lining of the nose or throat. Many irritants can induce a sneeze, including pollen or dust.

Because sneezing is so common and can result from many factors and conditions, it does not have a definitive link to COVID-19. And while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not list it as a common symptom of COVID-19, they do state that their list of symptoms for this disease is not exhaustive.

Keeping reading to learn about sneezing as a symptom of COVID-19.

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While sneezing is most likely the result of an allergy or a regular cold virus, it is unclear whether it is a symptom of COVID-19.

Many symptoms of COVID-19 and other conditions that affect the nose and throat overlap. The presence of sneezing could indicate other causes of a sore throat, such as allergies, colds, or flu.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

Learn how symptoms of COVID-19 might progress.

COVID-19 can cause a broad range of symptoms that may include problems outside of this list. However, the CDC does not list sneezing as a common symptom of the disease. However, they do state their list may not include all symptoms, and researchers will add symptoms as more data appears.

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All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on COVID-19.

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Sneezing is the result of irritation to the inner lining of the nose or throat. It is the body’s way of removing the irritant from the nasal passage or throat.

This symptom could be due to any foreign substance entering the nose or throat. The nose and throat have a thin mucous membrane lining that protects them from germs and other irritants. The body will try to expel irritants that interact with the mucous membrane through a sneeze.

Sneezes are prevalent in conditions affecting the nasal passage or throat. For example, colds and allergies are common causes of sneezes. These conditions can also cause symptoms that include:

However, sneezes can also occur without a medical condition. For example, breathing in an irritant could cause sneezing, such as dust or chemicals.

The viruses that cause COVID-19 and other infectious diseases can spread through droplets containing the virus. These droplets can transmit the infection by:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • talking
  • touching the face without washing hands
  • touching surfaces that other people frequently touch

People can prevent the spread of these diseases by covering their mouth and nose with a tissue after sneezing or coughing. They can also sneeze or cough into their elbow when no tissue is available. Always face away from others when sneezing or coughing.

Washing hands immediately after sneezing or coughing is also important to prevent viruses from passing to others through direct contact or on surfaces. Anyone with a disease that can cause infections in others through sneezing should avoid close contact with people until they are no longer contagious.

Learn more about reducing the COVID-19 transmission risk.

Persistent symptoms of COVID-19 may include sneezing, although there is not enough evidence to suggest that sneezing is a definitive symptom of the disease. A person who is sneezing after recovering from the condition may be experiencing another condition entirely. This could be a cold, the flu, or allergies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some COVID-19 symptoms can persist for longer than 4 weeks after having the disease. These indicate post-COVID conditions or long COVID, which includes many possible symptoms, such as:

  • headaches
  • muscle and body aches
  • difficulty breathing
  • tiredness
  • difficulty thinking
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeats
  • diarrhea
  • sleep problems
  • fever
  • mood changes
  • rashes
  • changes in smell or taste

However, the CDC states this list does not include all post-COVID symptoms and that research is ongoing to improve our understanding of these conditions. Further research could identify sneezing as a long-term consequence of COVID-19.

Learn more about long COVID and how long it takes to recover.

The best method of treating sneezes will depend on their cause. Some people may have an allergy that causes sneezing, and they first need to identify what triggers the reaction, such as pollen or chemicals. Avoiding triggers is the best way of preventing allergy symptoms, including sneezes.

Other treatments can include:

Some tips for reducing cold symptoms include:

  • staying hydrated
  • gargling salt water
  • over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines
  • humidifying the air
  • resting

Learn 12 natural ways to stop sneezing.

Sneezing is rarely a sign of something serious that requires immediate medical attention. However, people who regularly experience this symptom should speak with a doctor to determine the underlying cause.

In rare cases, individuals can experience severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Doctors call this reaction anaphylaxis, which typically includes several of the following symptoms:

  • skin rashes, itching, or hives
  • swelling of the mouth and throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • cramps

Sneezing may be due to COVID-19, although there is not enough evidence to establish a clear link. Colds and allergic reactions are common causes of sneezing that may explain the symptom. Sneezing can also be the result of irritation to the lining of the nose and throat.

Sneezing can spread germs that cause infections in other people. With this in mind, sneezing into a tissue or the elbow and washing hands regularly can help prevent this spread of disease.