Other allergies

How To Make Someone Else Sneeze

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: March 22, 2022
How To Make Someone Else Sneeze

If you have had a bad cold or flu, making yourself sneeze is the exact opposite of what you want to do. You can have sneezing attacks which disorientate and frustrate in equal measure, lasting for multiple sneezes which become increasingly irritating. Like buses, sneezes can be abundant until you need one. The feeling of needing to sneeze, but not actually being able to sneeze is also really frustrating. If you have a friend in this position, oneHOWTO is here to help you know how to make someone else sneeze. This way you can help release that build up and help clear bacteria. Just make sure you stand away from them when you do.

You may also be interested in: Why Don't We Sneeze When We Sleep?

Steps to follow:


Tickle their Nose

Our noses are very sensitive, as is all the skin on our face. It is why we often put fabrics to our cheek if we want to feel how soft they are. Tickling your nose stimulates the nasal hairs, in turn stimulating something call the nasal mucosa. Histamines are released and these send a message your your brain, causing your nasal passages to open and air from your lungs to be expelled through them.

The reason is that our body thinks we are being attacked, so we want to physically force out the bacteria rather than deal with it on a cellular level. If you take a feather or even a Q-tip to lightly tickle the nostrils, stimulating the nose hair especially. This will make your brain think the body is being attacked so it will sneeze as an automatic response.


Humming to Sneeze

If you want to know how to force a sneeze in someone, you should know that vibrations can simulate these sneeze receptors. Some people will be more sensitive than others, meaning they could even develop a sneeze from humming. Make the person hum so that their nose is stimulated.

Harness the hum so that it moves around the nose area. Try to focus it in on the nasal passages so that the nose hair can be stimulated. It may be one of the least successful tips to make someone else sneeze, but equally it can be a quick trick to make someone with sensitive sinuses get their release.


Look into a Bright Light

When people have a sneeze coming on, you might see people around them say look into the light. If you are outdoors, they may even say look into the sun. Before we explain why this may be heñpful, we have to say: never look directly into the sun. UV light in the sun can cause permanent damage to your eyes, so just don't do it, no matter how much you need to sneeze.

Instead, make the room dark, get the person to close their eyes and shine a torch on them. When the person can feel the light behind their eyelids, open them and look at the light. This can trigger something called the photic sneeze reflex. However, according to the journal PLOS One, only 1 in 4 people have this response[1]. Because of this, it might not work with your friend, but it is worth giving it a try.


Spicy Foods

Giving the person spicy foods might make them sneeze. Intense spices like pepper may arouse the sneezing center in the brain, however, this might not always work when ingesting the food.

Have you ever been cooking a spicy stew or curry in the kitchen and the air makes you sneeze after a while? This is because the chemical in hot peppers (capsaicin) enervates the stimulators in your nose and your brain makes you sneeze as a way to stop the unpleasant chemical getting into your system[2].

A similar reaction happens when dried spice like black pepper or cayenne gets into your nostrils. Let some pepper go up into the air in front of your friend's face. Do not put it directly into the face, especially as you do not want it near the eyes. This will give a similar effect as pepper spray and you don't want that.

How To Make Someone Else Sneeze - Step 4

Pluck Eyebrow Hair

Try to pluck their eyebrows, as this may activate a trigeminal nerve branch which supplies the nasal passages. This is the largest cranial nerve (i.e. the one in your head) and it is a similar reaction to when you look into the light and sneeze.

Muscles in your eyelids are part of the nerve network which activates during sneezes. This is why it is impossible to keep your eyes open when sneezing. Plucking eyebrows may make these nerves more sensitive, thus causing a sneeze. If you don’t want to pluck their eyebrows, lightly scratching them might give them some kind of stimulation.


Pulling Nose Hair

Sometimes, pulling their nose hairs will do the same thing. This is something you may have experienced accidentally when removing some of those wayward nose hairs. Unless they are so long you can pincer them with your fingernails, you will need some tweezers to extract the nose hair.

Pull out a single hair with a quick jerk, and make sure to keep a tissue in hand as this may cause a sneeze to hit quickly. Don't take out more than one at a time. Pulling nose hairs to make you sneeze can be effective, but can also be painful. You may equally get watery eyes and a sharp sting.

How To Make Someone Else Sneeze - Step 6

Drink a Glass of Red Wine

This is another which is not effective for most people, but is possibly the most enjoyable one (if you are a fan of wine in general). Drinking a glass of red wine can make you sneeze, but it won't happen to everyone. An oaky red wine in particular might contain histamines, the chemicals which can trigger an allergic reaction.

Most people are able to metabolize histamines, but those who can't get the symptoms of an allergy which include sneezing[3]. Unfortunately, they can also cause rashes and blotches in the skin. Some people are so allergic that they should not be drinking wine at all, so do not ingest anything which will put your overall health at risk.

How To Make Someone Else Sneeze - Step 7

Exposure to Cold Air

Chilled air may stimulate nerves in the nostrils, which may cause the person to sneeze. This is the reason why cold weather causes common colds, sneezes and other illnesses in some people. Of course, you won't want an actual cold, so cover up warm with the rest of the body.

You might not be in a cold climate so a walk in refrigerator might do. In fact, a normal freezer will be good if you open the door and get them to put their nose in front of it so the chilly air can waft towards it.

How To Make Someone Else Sneeze - Step 8


As we know that vibrations from humming can cause someone to sneeze, you might be able to get the same effect by stimulating the nose with another method of vibration. Personal electronic massagers or any device which vibrates at an appropriate level can be placeb on the bridge of the nose.

The vibrations will cause the nose to tingle and this will stimulate the nerve receptors, hopefully making the brain cause a sneeze.


Tongue Trick

Another way to simulate the nerve receptors to induce a sneeze is to tickle the roof of the mouth. The best way to make someone sneeze this way is to simply let them tickle the roof of their mouth with their tongue.

Get them to place the tongue on the mouth’s roof and keep sliding it back and forth. If this doesn't work, ask them to flick soft tissue on the back of their mouth, which should stimulate his sneeze reflex. Little flicks with the tip can work well here, so get them to imagine their tongue is a feather duster and they are cleaning a shelf with fragile ornaments on it.

Throughout these tricks to make someone else sneeze, try to make sure the person is encouraging of the sneeze. It's difficult to explain, but when a sneeze comes on, you can almost will it into existence. Try to be in a space which is conducive to sneezing and don't have lots of other distractions.

Try these steps to make someone else sneeze, and help get rid of the tickling sensation in the nose quickly. Remember, however, that it is not easy to make someone sneeze, especially if you don't want to overstimulate the trigeminal nerve. Have patience and try them more than once.

If you are trying to help someone with a cold, you can learn about how to fight a cold using home remedies.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Make Someone Else Sneeze, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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How To Make Someone Else Sneeze