What To Do When You Feel Like You Have To Sneeze But Can't

You feel that tickle inside your nose. The tension builds, and your body prepares for it. You close your eyes, you take a deep breath, then ... nothing. The letdown can be frustrating, if not a little painful.

Sneezing is your body's way of clearing something foreign from your nose, according to Healthline. It's a natural defense from nasty bugs and bacteria getting into your lungs. When a strange particle, such as dust, mold, or that guy's nasty cologne, interacts with the hairs and skin inside the nose, this activates the trigeminal nerve (via Medical News Today). The trigeminal nerve has three branches in your face, and if any of these branches get tripped, they send a signal to the brain. The brain then orders the sneeze to clear that nasty cologne out of the nose so the small hairs inside can get a reset (via Healthline).

Let's face it, though. Sometimes the sneeze is just a tease. Here are a few things you can try to get your sneeze on.

Getting that satisfying sneeze

According to Medical News Today, you'll need to trip one of the branches of the trigeminal nerve. One way is to roll up a tissue and tickle the inside of your nose or brush something under your nose. Avoid using a feather to tickle under your nose though — a feather might have some dust particles that could trigger allergies. Another part of the trigeminal nerve is in the roof of your mouth. Using the tip of your tongue, try tickling the roof of your mouth. You can also try pinching the bridge of the nose to get the trigeminal nerve to activate your sneeze. This nerve is also responsive to cold air, so try getting a waft of cold air to get a sneeze.

Up to 35% of the world's population are genetically wired to sneeze when they're suddenly exposed to bright light (via Atlas Biomed). If this photic sneeze reflex is in your genes, try looking at a bright light. According to Medical News Today, almost one-third of us are sensitive to fragrances, so you can try walking by that guy with the nasty cologne to get that sneeze to finally come.

When you do sneeze, remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, or sneeze into your sleeve. A sneeze can shoot out some disease-spreading microbes that can get other people sick (via Healthline).