A man sneezes.

When you sneeze, you may notice different odors in the immediate aftermath. Yes, that’s your own sneeze you smell. But what do these different scents mean?

Why does my sneeze smell sweet?

While there’s a chance a sweet smell, like honey, could just be the scent of chemicals being produced by bacteria in your sinuses, there’s also a chance it could be due to an increase of a chemical called ketones. Ketones are produced in your liver when you don’t have enough insulin in your body to turn sugar into energy. This could be a sign of diabetes, so a visit to the doctor is a good idea.

Why does my sneeze smell sour?

If you don’t like the smell of your sneeze, there’s a good chance people won’t like the smell of your breath, either. A sour-smelling sneeze is often the sign of bad breath. However, if you’re still smelling it after brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, there’s a chance you might have gum disease. Regular dental visits could help resolve that.

Why does my sneeze smell foul?

A foul-smelling sneeze is most likely caused by a sinus infection. Infected mucus starts filling with bacteria that can make it smell terrible. Fortunately, your doctor can prescribe medicine that can clear up that infection, which will take care of the smell, too. In children, a foul-smelling sneeze could indicate a foreign body in the nasal cavity.

Why does my sneeze smell like ammonia?

If you smell ammonia when you sneeze, you could have a serious issue, such as a liver or kidney problem. A doctor’s visit can help narrow down the source and help you get the treatment you need.

Christopher Tebbit, MD

“It is important to be in tune with our bodies, as they can sometimes give us subtle clues regarding our health that can be identified before a problem develops into something more substantial,” CEENTA ENT Doctor Christopher Tebbit, MD, said.

If you are concerned about what you smell when you sneeze, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a CEENTA ENT doctor.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Tebbit practices in our Belmont office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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April 06, 2021

My sneeze smells like cinnamon every time I sneeze and it lingers my boyfriend can smell it , it is embarrassing.
- Rhonda

March 26, 2021

I have a very high sense of smell. When people sneeze around me, I can detect a very specific non-foul odor/fragrance. I noticed it with my Fiance first. I can tell by the smell of his t-shirt if he has sneezed and used his shirt to cover his sneeze. Yesterday, a student in my classroom sneezed. I could smell the exact same odor that my Fiance releases in his sneezes. Could I be smelling the histamine that they release when they sneeze?
- Marie

March 29, 2021

Good morning. The histamine that is released in a sneeze is within the nasal mucosa and not really released in the air, so it is unlikely you are smelling histamine. If you are concerned about your sense of smell, live in the Charlotte region, and would like an appointment with a CEENTA ENT doctor, visit www.ceenta.com/appointments. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

October 30, 2020

We live in Nigeria. My better half have this issue. We've been to numerous dentists but it's business as usual; prescriptions, unrelated tests over and over. The bad aftermath smell remains after sneezing. We don't know what to do as this is becoming stress for both of us. Kindly suggest way forward please.
- Collins

October 30, 2020

Hello. Unfortunately, we cannot diagnose individual cases without seeing the patient in person. We recommend making another appointment with a local physician.
Reply From: CEENTA

August 10, 2020

Hi. I've experienced having a aftermath odor way back like the age of 10 or more, when sneezing I smell something different. I cannot discribe what the smell like. But not as bad as fart. But I do not have a cavity problem, don't have a bad breath. Only the aftermath sneeze smell. What do you think it is?
- D Postman Ph

August 10, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patient's needs without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

February 24, 2020

My sneeze smells bad
- Emmy

April 15, 2020

Good morning. If you live in the United States and would like a virtual visit appointment with one of our doctors, please call 704-295-3003. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 30, 2020

My nose feels painful when I sneeze, I smell mints, and I have a headache. What does that mean?
- Dr. Oberon

January 30, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose patients over the Internet, so we recommend you visit a doctor. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with CEENTA, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 11, 2020

when i sneeze it smells like beef extract what should i do
- karan

January 13, 2020

Good morning. We recommend seeing a doctor if you have any concerns about your health. If you live in the Charlotte area and would like to see a CEENTA doctor, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 06, 2019

When I sneeze it smells like cinnamon, honey or rapeseed. But it usually smells like cinnamon. It’s not all the time though but only if I sneeze and it’s super wet or I sneeze and it’s a spray sneeze and then I’ll walk right into the spray. It is stink. It does clear rooms sometimes. I remember sneezing in a room in our house and my sister could smell the sneeze from across the room. She said it just stinks like saliva.
- Sadie

February 20, 2019

Whenever I sneeze it triggers an immediate desire to defecate and often results in foul smelling flatulence. What can be the cause of this issue?
- Donald

February 21, 2019

Good morning. We cannot comment on specific cases over the Internet. We recommend you make an appointment with you primary care physician or a gastroenterologist.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 25, 2019

Why is it that when I sneeze it smells really bad but only sometimes ??
- Kelly

January 25, 2019

Good morning. We are unable to diagnose specific cases over the Internet. If you have concerns, we recommend making an appointment with your doctor. If you would like to make an appointment at CEENTA, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 17, 2019


January 17, 2019

Good afternoon. We covered that subject in this blog: https://www.ceenta.com/news-blog/why-does-looking-at-light-make-me-sneeze I hope this information is useful.
Reply From: CEENTA

January 07, 2019

have past history and family history of migraine. I usually suffer severe attacks after occurrence of malodorous sneeze?. Is there any relation? What can I do for managing that?
- Mohamed Mousa

January 07, 2019

Good morning. We are unable to diagnose specific cases via the Internet. We recommend you make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. You can call CEENTA at 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

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