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Why do I get these bouts of sneezes?

Q: I am 57 years old. When I use perfumes or during changing weather, I develop a sneezing problem. My doctor said that as such no treatment is required for this, but prescribed Cetirizine. When I get these bouts of sneezes, I have difficulty in breathing. How can I get rid of this problem?

A:It sounds as if your nose, and possibly also lung airways, are over-sensitive to irritants, and the best treatment would be a course of nasal steroid spray or drops, such as beclomethasone (Beconase) or fluticasone (Flixonase). The over-sensitivity is due to mild inflammation either from an allergy or left over from a virus infection. Antihistamines can be helpful, but just suppress the symptoms for a few hours, while the steroids can restore the normal state of the nasal lining. Sensitivity of the lung airways to cold air and irritants is typical of asthma, so this should be investigated, but you may find things improve if you treat your nose adequately.


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