Why People Cough & Sneeze?

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The primary reason that people cough and sneeze is due to allergies, as allergies often trigger the release of histamine. Find out how upper respiratory infections can cause coughing and sneezing with help from an immunologist in this free video on coughing and sneezing.

Part of the Video Series: Flu & Allergy Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Dr. Ana Lamas, and I'm in the practice of allergy and clinical immunology with two offices here in Miami, Florida. The reason that people cough and sneeze is usually due to an allergy. They will have something that is triggering histamine release. They may be allergic to dust mites inside the house, they may be allergic to pollens outside, and that is obviously very seasonally dependent. When a person is an allergic individual, they have allergic antibody to those substances, for example, the dust mite or the pollens. And when those things are brought into the body through the nasal membranes, they will release histamine. Now, histamine is a chemical that we find in certain cells in our body, and when histamine is released, we cough when it's released in the airway, and we sneeze when it's released in the nose. So that is the most common cause when we are treating a patient who's...who has these symptoms chronically. Otherwise, of course, an upper respiratory tract infection can do the same thing.

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