Why Do You Sneeze When Drinking Coffee?

Coffee is the popular favorite drink of many people in the world. The way coffee makes people fall for it is just unique, from the taste, and the smell, to the drinking styles. However, not everyone can enjoy coffee normally as others can due to some reasons. Some said that they have bad experiences drinking coffee which causes some trivial symptoms related to the respiratory system, mostly sneezing.

Why do you sneeze when drinking coffee? The answer will be shown right in this article. 

Why do you sneeze when drinking coffee?

Continuously sneezing while taking a sip of coffee must be so annoying. Several reasons make you sneeze, both subjectively and objectively. 

 coffee makes me sneeze

One of the reasons is Gustatory rhinitis, a medical condition causing a runny nose and sneezing after finishing hot or spicy foods, especially which are liquid or contain liquid. In the mini-review named “Gustatory rhinitis” by Ljiljana Jovancevic, Christos Georgalas, Slobodan Savovic, and Dusanka Janjetovic in 2010, it is written that gustatory rhinitis is characterized by watery, uni- or bilateral rhinorrhea occurring after ingestion of solid or liquid foods, most often hot and spicy. 

It is commonly seen that people who drink coffee because of the caffeine in it tend to choose hot coffee over iced coffee. Due to a scientific article named “Acidity and Antioxidant Activity of Cold Brew Coffee” by Niny Z. Rao and Megan Fuller, hot brew coffees were found to have higher concentrations of total titratable acids, as well as higher antioxidant activity, than their cold brew counterparts. Therefore, hot coffee is the preference between the two types thus it leads to gustatory rhinitis’s occurrence while drinking hot coffee. 

A substance that is quite comparable to theophylline is caffeine. In case you do not know, it is a medication used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a second-line drug. It is a bronchodilator, therefore it is used to widen pulmonary airways and alleviate asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Caffeine in your coffee has the same functions as theophylline, therefore the way it affects and creates the symptoms is the same as theophylline does. 

Coffee allergy symptoms

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, another possible cause might be put under consideration is Caffeine allergy. Caffeine allergy includes some abnormal symptoms that can be recognized explicitly and develop quickly related to the eyes, mouth, nasal, skin, and throat as the immune response.  Sneezing or nasal congestion is one of the most seen symptoms when getting caffeine allergy. 

Anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening if untreated, can result from severe allergic responses. In addition to having a negative impact on the heart rate and blood pressure, anaphylaxis can enlarge the throat and mouth, obstructing the airways. Though anaphylaxis due to caffeine is rare, according to the study “Anaphylaxis due to caffeine” by a group of researchers at Dokkyo Medical University, you must be aware of its seriousness once it comes to some symptoms or when it happens. 

Dermatology, Asian young woman, girl allergy, allergic reaction from atopic, insect bites on her arm, hand in scratching itchy, itch red spot or rash of skin.

Please notice that caffeine allergy is different from caffeine sensitivity and it is even more serious. The symptoms of caffeine sensitivity are not severe as those of caffeine allergy because it is simply a type of food sensitivity. If your sneezing is getting excessive, you need to think about the worst situation of having a caffeine allergy, not just sensitivity and it is urgent to see the doctor.

Does coffee affect your sinuses? Is it true?

Man filling mug with hot fresh coffee in a morning at home.
Man filling mug with hot fresh coffee in a morning at home.

The most common situation happening with your sinus when you consume an amount of coffee, especially hot coffee, is a runny nose. 

A coffee-induced runny nose may be caused by pre-existing sinus disorders including seasonal allergies or sinusitis. The intake of coffee can either improve or worsen certain disorders. You can reduce inflammation and widen your sinuses by inhaling the steam produced by a cup of coffee. 

Moreover, coffee’s caffeine, a vasoconstrictor, might lessen blood vessel enlargement in and around your respiratory system. Eliminating additives like milk or cinnamon, which are frequently added to coffee if you have an allergy, can relieve nasal congestion.

Allergies are caused by drinking coffee. What is the reason?

When you drink coffee, some allergies might happen, mostly which are related to skin, digestion, and respiratory system difficulties or abnormal signs. You might think straight up about coffee allergies that cause you these symptoms. However, in fact, this is not a coffee allergy, this is called caffeine allergy from coffee or anything that contains caffeine. 

When you consume caffeine, your body creates a chemical called immunoglobulin E and this antibody produces histamine in response to the antibody in an effort to wash out components that they mistake for being detrimental. Allergens are these compounds. Inflammation is the outcome, and inflammation can cause hives, itching, and swelling.