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Morning Sneezing Fits

Morning sneezing fits is where a person may awake after sleep and break out into a sneezing fit almost immediately or shortly after awaking. It may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms including a runny nose, itchy watery eyes and nasal congestion. Most cases of morning sneezing fits are due to immune related conditions or environmental factors. The sneeze reflex is suppressed during sleep, so many of the same causes of chronic sneezing may be responsible for morning sneezing fits.

Causes of Morning Sneezing Fits

  • Allergic rhinitis is the most common cause, particularly perennial rhinitis. It is an immune mediated hypersensitivity often triggered by house dust mite, fungal spores and animal hair. During sleep, the nasal passages may be exposed to the trigger factor for prolonged periods of time but since the sneeze reflex is suppressed while asleep, the symptoms ensue upon waking. In seasonal rhinitis, the symptoms are more pronounced during certain seasons like spring when the pollen count is high.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis with eosinophilia syndrome (NARES) is another immune mediated condition but not due to allergies. It may also present with a morning sneeze as a result of fluctuations associated with immune activity during sleep.
  • Environmental conditions – exposure to dry air, particularly air conditioning, during sleep may severely dry the nasal passages and trigger a bout of morning sneezing when awake.
  • Drug-induced rhinitis may be responsible for morning sneezing fits, if the causative agent is taken prior to sleep. In patients using antihistamines and corticosteroids to suppress rhinitis and sneezing, the symptoms tend to aggravate upon waking, depending on when the last scheduled dose of the day.
  • Sinusitis may sometimes result in morning sneezing as the change in position may promote emptying of the mucus. This can cause irritation of the nasal lining.
  • Precious

    Hi Doc, I usually have this morning fits, coupled with itcy eyes, itcy throat and itcy ears. Sometime I av this fits during d day and even nights when about to sleep, sometimes during d day my ears, throat and eyes itch so bad that I get red swollen eyes. The most funniest part of it is that because of the type of hot climate we have here, I might suddenly become hot and sweaty due to failure in power, immediately I might get d sneezing fit even when am sweating! I change location constantly and d condition is d same everywhere I go and I dont stay or sleep in air conditioned apartment and I have no record of asthma when I was young. My constant accomplice is d cold and catarr inhaler, people even say I’m addicted to it. Doc. Please help me.

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Precious

    Such symptoms are typical of an allergic cause. Changes in climate may aggravate it but are not the cause. This has to be confirmed by your doctor though who then prescribe the appropriate medication. You should consider seeing an otolaryngologist (ENT specialist) or an allergist.