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Allergies

Sneezing after eating

03/02/2006

Question:

I often sneeze violently several times after eating. It`s hard to pin this down to specific foods, although it`s almost always triggered by bananas. However I am just as likely to sneeze after eating a tuna fish roll. The sneezing doesn`t bother me at home or at work but it`s embarrassing in restaurants, and seems always to occur when I eat in them. At one time the sneezing fit would be delayed until after the dessert course but, more recently, it will sometimes occur after the consumption of the main course and before the dessert arrives. I have no food allergies (or indeed allergies of any sort) of which I am aware and I`m an outgoing, confident person. I have never smoked and do have a good sense of smell and taste and have wondered if the sneezing is due to some sort of sensory overload. The sneezing occurs all year round with no peaks or troughs. Is it possible that I could be allergic to something which triggers the attacks? Apart from bananas it would be hard to pin down to a specific food type and I have no other symptoms, watering eyes or such like. Should this trouble me, apart from the embarrassment factor? I am otherwise fit and healthy.

Answer:

This could be "gustatory" rhinitis where people sneeze, have a watery nose or get congested after eating.  This is due to a neurogenic reflex mechanism.  It is embarassing and there are medications (nose sprays) that may help or prevent these symptoms.  I would see your doctor or an allergist for recommendations on what medication to use.  Typically intranasal atrovent 0.03% or astelin would help these symptoms.

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati