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Your nose tickles and you take a deep breath. It’s unavoidable…a sneeze is coming. Sneezing is typically our body’s natural physical response to foreign bodies such as dirt, pollen or dust that irritates the nose and mucus membranes

Sneezing—also called sternutation—is our first defense against airborne bacteria and bugs, forcing water, mucus, and air from our nostrils at up to 100 miles per hour. But why do we sneeze when we’re already sick?

What happens when we sneeze

When particles irritate the sensitive mucus membranes of the nasal passage, your body protects itself by initiating a sneeze. The nerve endings get stimulated, sending electric signals to the medulla in your brain stem. In just seconds, your body gets ready. You close your eyes, breathe in, relax the muscles in your throat, and then force air, saliva, and mucus out of your nose and mouth. Ah-choo!

Sneezing and sickness

Just like a sneeze aims to expel an airborne irritant, our body also tries to eliminate it when we’re sick. A runny nose or sinus drainage may trigger a sneeze as a way to expel fluids caused by:


When pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites and other allergens enter the body, it releases histamines (immune system communication chemicals that activate the immune system in a variety of ways including stimulating nearby tissues to inflame with blood and the production of mucus). This triggers an allergic reaction called allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, with a runny nose and/or eyes, coughing and sneezing.


Sneezing is a symptom of the common cold, COVID-19, the flu, and some sinus infections. The body sneezes frequently to help expel fluids as part of the healing process.

An air purifier can remove irritants

Air purifiers are great for sneezing when sick. Depending on the type of filter used, an air purifier may remove particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), bacteria, viruses, allergens and other pollutants from the air.

Remove allergens

One of the many benefits of a quality air purifier is its ability to cut down on household allergens, like pollen, pet dander, dust, and mold spores. If your allergy symptoms get worse at night or around the time you wake up, it’s a good clue that you’re reacting to allergens in your home. Place an air purifier in your bedroom, living room, or wherever you spend the most time. Then, turn it on, keep it on, and let it do its thing.

Reduce airborne virus exposure

Air purifiers can capture bacteria and viruses, helping remove them from the air as they pass through the filter. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters have been found to capture particles containing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Molekule’s proprietary Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology has been proven to destroy bacteria, viruses, allergens and more. In fact, new research shows Molekule Air Mini removed 99.98% of SARS-CoV-2 from the air. In a one-time release, multiple pass test in a small chamber, PECO destroyed over 99% in a filter swatch level test in under one hour.* 

*Laboratory testing was conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center using both small chamber & filter media swatch tests.

No air purifier can prevent transmission of a virus. Molekule recommends use of PPE and following directions of the CDC and other government authorities

Keep filters fresh

Air purifiers work best when the replacement filters are fresh. The approximate life expectancy of a Molekule replacement filter is about six months with recommended use. Fresh filters help you prepare for the cold and flu season, and you can sign up for Molekule auto-delivery to get replacement filters shipped to you when you need them. Air purifiers can be FSA-eligible, and you may have the option of a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement account (HRA).

So if you’re sick and sneezing, grab a box of tissues and let a good air purifier clean the air and help prevent you from getting sick again.

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