Olly’s sneeze affliction


* Click here to listen to Episode 6 *

In Episode 6 of Answer Me This!, Olly sensationally revealed that his sneezes reek beyond the limits of human endurance. Despite being in the business of answering questions, we failed to discover a reason for this stinkiness, and a week on, the mystery continues.

However, though a cure remains frustratingly elusive, we were overjoyed to discover Olly ‘Freaknostrils’ Mann is not alone, when the following email from listener Geri leapt into our inbox this morning:

Not a question, more of a plea…

I heard Olly confess that his sneezes smell terrible on a recent
show and I suffer from this too. My husband even rolls the window
down when I sneeze in the car. He calls it my death sneeze ‘cos it
literally smells of death!

Please please please Olly, i look to you to find the cause of our

You are not alone.

Geri *achhhooooo*

Wow! So even dainty ladylike sneezes can smell like a llama’s toilet!

But how many smelly-sneezers are still in the (pongy) closet? Show yourselves, and Answer Me This! will provide haven for you. Together we can beat this thing, people! Although we’ll not take you all on a picnic in hayfever season.

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112 Responses to “Olly’s sneeze affliction”

  1. carcass Says:

    mine smells like a small animal such as rat died when i sneezed on in my room.

  2. Mrs Sandra L Andrews Says:

    My husbands sneezes smell of strong rapeseed oil and I too have to wind down window. He can not smell it as he has lost his sense of smell. This has been like this for years m can you help

  3. GaryT Says:

    11 years after the first reply but hey!. I remember my first smelly sneeze, I was in my car with my sister and after I sneezed we both agreed it smelled like my dearly departed incontinent old nan. One trip to the doctors was followed by a tube down the nose and throat at the hospital but no diagnosis was found. That was 30 years ago, I still have the smelly sneazes and nothing seems to have changed. If it was the first signs of an infecton it hasn’t developed into anything so I just live with it. I’ve read (today) that it could be liver related so I’ll have my 2nd attempt at finding out what is causing them and if anything comes to light, I’ll let you know.

  4. Becca Says:

    I am a SSS sufferer too. My sneeze is so stinky. But the spray is what makes my sneeze stink. If no spray, no smell. It smells like cinnamon and spit. I sneezed in my sisters room when we were in there. After we left and came back almost two hours later and my sneeze scent was still in her room. She was like “Becca your sneeze stink is still in my room.” She has stink sneezes too. I’ve smelled them.

  5. tanchirablog Says:

    Sorry about the double post. It kept making me log into my WordPress account but the browser got stuck on the login page so I had no idea whether it worked.

  6. tanchirablog Says:

    This article doesn’t mention smelly sneezes, but it does say that different ailments can make you smell…interesting. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/smell-sickness-parkinsons-disease-health-science/

  7. tanchirablog Says:

    This article doesn’t mention smelly sneezes, but it does say that different ailments can make you smell…interesting. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/smell-sickness-parkinsons-disease-health-science/

  8. Christian Says:

    I’m 15 and my sneezes have been smelling like death for a year now wtf!! What’s wrong with me????!?!?!

  9. slegrande31 Says:

    My daughter has some pretty stinky sneezes. My girlfriend sometimes has pretty stink sneezes too. It usually smells like cinnamon. Girls have some pretty stink sneezes.

  10. Sadie Legrande Says:

    My sneezes stink too. My girlfriend and other friends have that stinky cinnamon scent to it. But I like it.

  11. Tom Says:

    My mom(41 years old) has a medium sized sneeze but which is wet,like Achoooo! I have smelt a sweet,musky smell a few times after she sneezes even though she covers her nose when she sneezes. Recently,she was sitting next to my uncle and I was in the room also but a bit far from her.She sneezed a wet sneeze without covering and I smelt a sweet musky smell.

    • sneezewolf Says:

      Does your mom ever talk about her own sneeze smell? My moms sneezes also smell, and i’ve been always fascinated about it since I was a lil kid!

  12. JGarlow Says:

    I was violently ill a year ago and I actually puked bits of chicken through my nose. I started having SSS since then and always figured theres some meat up in there decaying still. I hope it goes away some day.

  13. Emma Says:

    6music, thank you! This really made me laugh (sorry sufferers!)

    I am now hugely worried that my sneezes have in fact stunk my whole life without my realization. Imagine blissfully sneezing with a gleeful “Bless ME!” resulting in work colleagues rushing to cover their nose to avoid the strange, dumpy, cinnamonny, honey death smell, whilst I just carry on oblivious, tippy tappy typing!!

    I can’t wait for my next sneeze so I will know for sure!!! xx

  14. John doe Says:

    Yes yes it’s terrible I think it’s some fungi I’ve had funk sneeze for years

  15. dan Says:

    My sneezes smell like pollen to me and I love the smell but my wife absolutely hates it. Does anyone have an answer as to what this is

  16. Ari Says:

    It happens to my “first” sneeze after I wake up in the early morning. It has very strong and concentrated saliva and cinnamon smell. No sinus or throat infections; I have no tonsils&adenoids. There is no smell at all every time I sneeze during the day.

  17. tonsillolith Says:

    I think all sneezes smell. Some people always have that smell to them when they talk. I found that a allergy nasal spray can help dry things up and control some odor. But then some of those smell worse.

  18. guy Says:

    i sneezed really huge b4 and then i sprayed a lot. then i start to realise this musty smell and the smell lasted 3 minutes or so. i thought it was my nose losing sense and then a day later i was hanging out with my mates. my friend sneezed (as in a really huge one) and we all smelled the musty smell. then i realised it was actually sneezes that smell. months later i was checking if sneezes smell. i sneezed, it wasn’t big and no spray. it didnt smell. i sneezed again like i let it all go and spray went everywhere. it smells. really bad. so i think that sneezes smell cos of a lot of the spit comes spraying out of your mouth

  19. richard Says:

    my sneezes smell too. but it smells like pollen and flowers to me it smells kinda ok. i first realised it when i had a huge sneeze and sprayed everywhere. only me and my son noticed it and he said it smell terrible. i like the smell but it only had to be in sneezes

  20. alison Says:

    I have honey-smelling sneezes…not all the time but since i was a child…kind of thought it was special actually! This forum had me seriously laughing out loud! Too funny! There still seems to be no real answer..so good luck those whose sneeze is offensive smelling!

  21. Qtee Says:

    Ma friend is got this stink sneeze n its realy annoying.plz help

  22. GermPhob Says:

    My 4 year old son has the stinky sneeze affliction and falls out in tears laughing when we run for cover after he sneezes. Oh the horror! Anyway, his sneezes are very offensive, to say the least. The sneeze smells like an offensive cinnamon smell that lingers endlessly. I lierally have to spray my Oust air sanitizer in the room to get rid of this foul odor. I cannot understand why a 4 year old would have such a funky sneeze. I’ve asked the doctor and she says its just the body’s way of cleaning out your head. I’ve taught my son to sneeze in his elbow and he does, but when he’s around us at home he is more relaxed and gets a kick out of us and all of our facial expressions after he sneezes. Once he sneezed in the car while I was driving and I had to roll down every window in the car or risk falling unconcious at the wheel. He laughs helplessly. But I am wondering if nosebleeds is the common denominator here. I used to get them as a young girl plus I have seasonal allergies. My son occasionally gets nosebleeds but no allergies. Pls help!

  23. Plubio Says:

    I’ve been looking up on this for a few weeks since my wife told me once that she could smell my sneeze. In fact it is like a flowery smell, not quite ofensive, but like someone said, knowing it came from a sneeze just makes it kind of icky. A few weeks later same sneeze and smell in the office. Not all sneezes have this peculiar odor however. It’s mostly the very strong ones. No tonsil stones either.

    I just came to realize that I have been taking a multivitamin which gave my urine a strong smell, and when I went to smell the vitamin bottle, from a prudent distance the smell is very similar. Maybe this has something to do with it. Anyway if someone can get their hands on GNC megaman vitamins and just smell on pill, let me know if this is the same familiar smell

  24. Tintin Says:

    I’m also a sufferer of SSS and only seem to have issue when it is a really powerful sneeze. Breathe is always fresh so don’t know what causes my sneezes. Tried everything including gurgling toothpaste, sinus spray and gurgling mouthwash to no eval.

    Any found a cure?

    • catathome Says:

      I have noticed occasional stinky sneezes for years! When I drink heavily, I think the smell comes from all the dead brain cells that are leaving your head through sneezing. Bet I’m right.

  25. Bernard Says:

    I was first exposed to this when I was in 5th grade…

    A girl in my class had this bizarre malady and it was so utterly objectionable and odiferously foul…. It shotgunned me straight into homosexuality..


  26. B Says:

    Hello all, I also have SSS, think is mine smells of wee, I shower twice a day and have good personal hygene I think but this is very embarrasing and is getting me down so much I am embarressed to see a doctor???? Please please shed some light on what I can do as the hayfever period is coming up and I am dredding it, cheers

  27. Dorian Kentner Says:

    What is also captcha code?, pls provide me captcha code codes or plugin, Thanks in advance.

  28. YepMySneezeSmellsAlso Says:

    Just today I ws driving along and I sneezed. And I said to myself “Self, go home and google Why does my sneeze stink” I see I am not the only one that has SSS..

  29. Curious as well Says:

    I have the same problem. When I sneeze and if I don’t have time to cover, people around me can smell it. It is awful. To me it smells like a old open sore, or something. Ever smelled a pretty bad wound after someone unwrapped it. Well to me that is how it smells.

    One thing I notice is that at time it may sound like I have a drainage of some type of fluid in the back of my neck, right at the lower part of my head. When I move my neck it sounds like a lot of fluid buildup. I thought maybe this is the same fluid that surround this area. Another thing is when I sneeze, the fluid can come out of my eyes. Also, my eye makes a lot of noise, like a lot of fluid build up when rubbing them. My nephew just ask me the other day, does my eye still make that noise when I rub them.

    I hope someone can at least find a reason why this happens, or what is the smell originating from, or a cure.

    Thanks for listening to me vent,

    My smeller smells.

    • Diane Taylor Says:

      I just came across your post. I have had this same symptom. It feels like fluid in the back of my head, when i move my neck it “crackles” like fluid. My left eye also squishes with fluid. I have that awful smell and have been cultured to find it to be a pseudomona infection. You may have the same, it’s very antibiotic resistant. I am on my 3rd round of IV meds to get rid of the disgusting smell and hopefully the fluid in my head feeling. I also had surgery which didn’t help, the smell came back within 2 weeks along with this watery feeling in my head and extreme headaches i didn’t have before surgery, so if you haven’t had surgery yet, be very cautious. Have you gotten any answers or relief from the squishy eye and fluid? I have tried every med known to man. Been to about 23 diff drs. Flew to dr all the way across the country, still no answers. I could write sooo much more, but your post about the fluid and eye squishiness really caught my attention because my dr just looks at me like i am crazy. Thanks, Diane

    • zombie sneeze Says:

      yeh exactly,thats how it smells like…rotting carcass

  30. Brin Says:

    The honey smell sneeze is caused by high blood sugar levels (lots of blood in lung walls, so sneeze ejects the sugar air). Do a urine test to check for diabetes/hyperglycemia/ketones.

  31. george Says:

    If it’s disgusting, I have it. When I sneeze it smells like shit, corpse and lilacs. Mostly shit and corpse though. It poisons a large room IMMEDIATELY and the demon doth tarry. Peoples faces just drop. Melt in digust, you know? Even those kind and gentle souls can can’t decieve me. On the bright side, it’s not like farting when I have time to wonder if and how bad it’ll be. No, this is bad. Very bad.

  32. Maria Says:

    Another “sufferer” here..although I think my family suffer more than me especially on car journeys. My sneezes smell of rape fields/honey. In the last 5 years I have noticed this affliction and around the same time I started having other health problems and allergies. I also put on 4 stone over this time due to insulin resistance PCOS. I am wondering if it might be something like candida flora which thrives off sugars in the gut?

  33. The Dude Says:

    Am I the only one having a good time with this? Some of your comments are hilarious.

    Anyways, I also have them. I’ve had them for years, but I can’t pinpoint exactly when I got them. I’m positive I didn’t have them when I was a kid, though. So let’s say something like five years.

    The thing is, they certainly don’t smell like rapeseed oil or anything else you’ve mentioned. It is such an strange odour, and it’s not unpleasent. Being that it’s so strong, and originating from sneezes, I think it just get’s a bum treatment unfairly. It certainly is sort of sweet, though (I would have to compare it to certain tea types). Not to mention, it really has a staying power. Some of you said it permeates through a room, I find it is quite the opposite. It stays exactly in the same place one sneezed, sometimes for quite a long time (and no, there isn’t any visable objects in this area either, it’s all microscopic pieces of fluid).

    I also, from time to time, cough up tonsillolith, but that’s perfectly normal as far as I know (and for me, it’s not very often, I mean, it’s probably been a couple of years since the last time I had one). I’m also quite certain it’s unrelated, as the smells are completely different.

    I’ve also removed one of my tonsils. Haven’t had any problems with sinuses, ear canals or anything of the sort. I do have one issue, though; swollen salivary glands when having a cold, but not every time. Can’t really see the connection there either. To be perfectly honest, this is all just speculations based on preconceptions (folk medicine can construct a powerful barrier between it and the truth), and I can’t really say I feel we’ve gotten anywhere.

    Of course, I also have my own theories, but they’re also completely based off preconceptions, and there is no evidence involved at all. My theory is still air in the sinuses, because I can’t think of anywhere else such a strong build-up of smell can occur without being released/diluted over time.

    For me, this isn’t a problem, though. Mine doesn’t smell bad, and it only occurs in like one in thirty sneezes. Although, I would like to know what causes it, and if it’s a symptom of some specific state in my body.

    Keep on posting. I’m sure someone, somwhere is researching this. At some point answers will be had!

  34. Mac Says:

    I thought i was alone/wierd until now. Mine smell like rape seed and i assumed as a hayfever sufferer that it maybe was some rape i’d inhaled ‘coming back up’. This can’t be true as i know live in a country with a low low pollon count and i also have them i the winter.

    No nose bleeds as a child but i have had some ENT troubles. Severe Tonsillitis several times, very bad sore throats several times, broken nose from rugby… Allergic to animal hair…. Otherwise i am very fit, run 30 miles a week, cycle 100+ a week, swim and eat a good diet (most of the time)

    I would love to at least know what is going on here.

    • Peter Cavaciuti Says:

      Mac I know this is late from your original posting but I have been looking into this and I note that some people link it to diabetes. Well I have typer 2 diabetes and also suffer from “Rape seed” smelling sneezes. Did not even notice them prior to becoming a diabetic

  35. Jason E. Says:

    I also suffer from SSS here are my symptoms:

    1. I did not have many bloody noses when growing up the most I can remember in my entire chilhood was 5 or less.

    2. Now that I am older 29 I have had more bloody noses about 2 a year for the last 8 years.

    3. I have Fall Allergies (Wisconsin)

    4. I have never smoked but my mom did when I was growing up.

    5. I eat Meat,Fish.Chicken, Veggies, Fruits,

    6. I have Asthma but not DR. diagnosed but when I run I can feel the wheezing.

    7. I do not drink alcohol regularly.

    8. Not every sneezes smells it seems to be when they are a really deep deep sneeze like from allergies, Not from the sun stare sneeze.

    9. I think the smell has something to do from within my lungs.

    10. If we all go visit a doc for this maybe they will start to listen to us!!!

    11. God bless all fellow SSS sufferers may the stink be with you….

  36. N. O. Sam Says:

    Wow, I didn’t know this was a common phenomena. My sneezes smell like stinky feet. I’ve deduced that it’s the actual saliva that comes out of my mouth, but I don’t have bad breath and my snot does not stink when I blow my nose. I had tonsils and adenoids removed as a child and now at 26 I currently have a deviated septum and dust allergies. I never floss but my dentist always says that my teeth are clean and nothing is wrong. I do eat lots of meat and dairy, but lots of vegetables too. Not much exercise. I dream of the day we defeat SSS.

  37. Ron Says:

    In my case, only a really strong sneeze ellicits the awful smell of… well, burnt cork. This smell has come and gone through the years, but it has now stuck around for several years.

    I assume that the rush of air from a strong sneeze evacuates the sinuses. Sinuses are closed cavities, normally without airflow. I think that the smell is stagnant, rotten sinus.

    I’ve heard of having a doctor clean out your sinuses. I also read of people managing to position their head to fill their own sinuses with saline and roll the head around to wash them out. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to soon.

  38. ren Says:

    after many years of sneezing without reason, and it leaving the smell of rape seed in my nose, i thought i would google it… and i found this.

    nice to know im not alone, but not many answers unfortunately.
    i havent got hayfever, well not to my knowledge. i dont sneeze anymore in spring/summer than i do in winter
    i do tend to sneeze more in mornings though!
    i never had any illnesses when i was younger, or nose bleeds etc

    very odd

  39. Mandy Says:

    I’m just having a I love the internet moment. It’s great when an obscure inquiry pops into your head and you can immediately find some information about it before you forget about it.

    I definitely have a post sneeze smell but I would describe it as quite pleasant! It’s kind of a cinnamon spicy clean smell but it’s not everytime I sneeze. My 4 year old son just sneezed this morning (hence me googling this) and it smells exactly the same!

    Anyway, I haven’t found out what the possible cause is yet but am finding the above very interesting, thanks!t

    • Connie Says:

      My sneezes started stinking about 20 years ago. Not all the time. But now the smell stays in enclosed rooms i’ve been in. It’s not my body odor. It’s not in my clothes. But i’ve been breathing in a room, close the door and then re-enter the room 15 minutes later, there’s a musty-sweet odor. Has anybody figured out what this could be yet?

    • Sadie Legrande Says:

      Mine has a cinnamon scent to it too. And it’s really stink. Sometimes when I sneeze, a spray comes out of my mouth that is so stink. I remember traveling in the car with my mother Shelly, she likes to keep the windows up and get the AC going. When I sneezed she said she noticed the spray from my sneeze coming out of my mouth. It was so stink. She commented that it smelled like cinnamon. She was so offended by the stinky sneeze that from then on I had to wear a dust mask so when I sneezed only I could smell the stink.

  40. Ross Says:

    I too have honey sneezes! woohooo i love them i think its down to a superior pollen filter in my snoz!

  41. StinkySneezer Says:

    I found out what my deal is. Maybe it’s yours, too?

    Lots of information here:


    and here:



  42. StinkySneezer Says:

    I too suffer from this, but my stench is caused by bile. At least I think it is. When I sneeze I feel something coming up from my throat and typically end up sneezing it into my hand or it sneaks out onto my shirt. It’s just a little white ball, smaller than a pea, but the odor is deadly.

    The first time I did this and realized what the hell it was, I sneezed and soon after thought the cat took a dump near me. I actually got up and took a look around the room, but there was no dookie to be found. Then I realized it was ON me. I placed it in a tissue and set it on the end table. Minutes later the stink was permeating from out of the tissue and I had to flush it down the toilet. It’s happened numerous times since then. Thankfully no one in close proximity has ever noticed and I’m too embarrassed to bring it to anyone’s attention.

    Anyone have any insight? I am a healthy, non-smoking, meat and fruit & veggie eating, slightly overweight caucasian female. I’m wondering if it’s gall bladder related? I have absolutely NO issues with the organ, but I believe that’s where bile is produced?

    Has this happened to anyone else? Please tell me I’m not alone. 😉

    • alison Says:

      It’s tonsil crypts..I had them when i was younger…it’s like cavities in your tonsils that bacteria builds up in…and if you cough or sneeze, they may fly out…smell is horrible!

  43. Dennis Says:

    hi everyone. i also have SSS. i used to smoke, and when i stop smoking i started to have this. could it be related to it? or just a coincidence? i have it now for almost 10years. i hope its not my lungs 😦

  44. JIMMY Says:


  45. Helena Says:

    I never noticed my sneezes being stinky until about a month ago. I had a really bad cold and then since then- stinky sneezes!
    Apparently this is a more complicated issue then I had thought.

  46. Neil Says:

    I have suffered SSS for the last two years the reason I write is that my wife keeps pulling me up about the stench.I compulsary brush my teeth and gargle but when I sneeze man it smells like death himself.I am sitting in my office writing this as not ten minutes ago I sneezed one of my colleagues walked in and asked what the hell have I been eating as the roon smelt like something died in side,you can imagine my embarassment I justed laughed it off saying its when it burns your eyes you have got to worry.
    Serious it does concern me ,I have never eaten vegatabes and salads I am 47 train four days a week .I have always been asthmatic but consider myself physically fit.I took a jam jar I sneezed into the doctors and he nearly fell of his chair when he sniffecd it ,he sent me to the hospital and they stuck a camera down my thraot twice (not Nice) they now tell me I have a hi atus hernia ,IBS of the throat as my mobilisation muscle has stopped working proaperly when I swallow,lots of tablets later and I still smell when I sneeze at least twice a day.I have never smoked drink only small amounts of alchol very rarely.The one thing I eat and drink a lot of is meat and diet coke.
    I have been sent to a food specialist to look at why I have no craving for anything green that has come out of the ground as this could be the soloution but so far no change.

    Good luck to you all SSS suffers I think i will just go on stinking I am glad I am not alone.

  47. john from Ireland Says:

    i suffer from sss and so does my father my wife always complains and also says i have bad breath, I would also consider myself a big meat eater

  48. ekcentrik Says:

    My husband started having SSS a few months ago. I noticed it, and told him it smelled like honey, but he simply thought it smelled rank. The only major change in his life is that he’d started singing in a choir, so his breathing has changed. Then, last week, I had my first SS, and again this morning. The only change we’ve both experienced is the effects of rising damp over the past few months (cause unknown, under investigation) in our ground floor apartment (100+ years old). The result of all the damp is a white fluffy growth and mildew. My conclusions so far: the objective and subjective odour of SS may differ. Airborn bacteria or fungus may be a cause. In my case, I’m leaning toward external influences (environment, lifestyle) being at the root of SSS, as my husband and I come from radically different backgrounds). I also wonder whether the different odours noted here may not indicate different problems? All SS may not be equal!

  49. josh for Huddersfield Says:

    WTF Steven!?

  50. Ian Says:

    Hoorah! I’ve had stinky sneezes for as long as I remember that smell EXACTLY like oil seed rape, but I thought it was just me. My wife’s never smelt it and has always thought I was mad for suggesting it, but now I have proof I’m not alone! Like George above I too feel like I’ve just has some kind of therapy, but cheaper… Hooray for Answer Me This!!

    Incidentally, I had regular nosebleeds as a child. A common theme it seems…

    Also, what’s with sneezing when you look up into a clear blue sky? Happens to me without fail every time.

  51. steven Says:

    there’s this girl that i like, her bum smells like sneeze, and she likes to wiggle it in my face, she also likes me sucking her toes!

  52. At issue Says:

    Hi.. Im George and I have SSS !…. there you go….. its like going to some kind of therapy : )

    Im 43.. and have been SSS ing for about 3 years now.
    It smells EXACTLY like rape seed !.. and the family hate it !..
    its not every time I sneeze.. ( does that reduce me to amateur status ? ) and I dont even sneeze that often. I am a fit and healthy firefighter. I go running, have no obvious probs with any lumps, bumps, stuff going in. or stuff oozing out ! : o
    I also sneeze when i walk out into sunshine
    dont eat too much meat.. cant afford too !..
    dont drink too much… I self regulate !! : )..( so I decide how much is tooo much )

    any advice… and are we going to get a secret handshake.. to recognise each other ?…. or dont we need one. ? : )

    and excuse me If I miss out on any AGM’s….. for the obviuos reasons…. !! : o


  53. Liz Anderson Says:

    The smelly sneezes started for me a few years ago, around the time that I had pneumonia. The cause of the pneumonia was likely histoplasmosis. The sneezes have a musty odor, and it doesn’t occur with every sneeze. I had the following factors in common with those reported by others:
    1. Frequent nosebleeds as a child
    2. Postnasal drip which results in frequent coughing and throat clearing
    3. Thickening of mucous after consuming a dairy product
    4. Swelling of salivary glands when sick, and lump under tongue
    5. Have all molars except one that grew into my sinus cavity (not uncommon)
    6. Frequent sore throats from childhood on (post nasal drip?)
    7. Do not eat much meat, especially red meat
    8. I don’t smoke, rarely drink

  54. Jkel Says:

    yeah i have sss i am 15 have just started noticing it recently but its unbearable..i had frequent nose bleeds as a child and have some now. and i think i have a deviated septum.

  55. SneezyFace Says:

    Apparently my aunt when she was younger was known to occasionally enter a room say “it smells like someone sneezed”, which was considered eccentric. But I have noticed at times that there is a smell after I sneeze. I wouldn’t call it unpleasant–it is actually exactly the smell of leaves when you are raking–but still I hope that people aren’t regularly smelling this every time I sneeze! I have been reading a lot today on the internet about smells associated with sneezes. When I read about people smelling something unpleasant, I am not sure if this is the same smell. One woman wrote that it was disgusting because it was like nutmeg, which I guess is kind to similar to what I smell. If this is what you are experiencing, I don’t think it is any serious health problem.
    It is interesting what Johnny Boy said about the ammonia smell. When my nose is extremely irritated it makes me hallucinate an ammonia smell. Once I was baking when I had a bad cold. I was freaking out that there was some chemical in or near the oven because it smelled very strongly of ammonia. My boyfriend thought I was crazy because he could only detect a normal baking smell. Since then I have also imagined that smell when my nose is really itchy just before I sneeze.

  56. Michael Says:

    It sounds like your are forcing a lot of air out of a small hole. I know one side of my nose is like that because it was broken. I don’t know if my problem can be fixed as easily as I think yours could. It sounds like you need to go to an ear-nose-throat dr. and have him increase the size of your sinus ports. Not the nostrils, the holes behind them.

  57. wirriam Says:

    One thing I forgot to mention and I am wondering if it might be a common denomonator is, when I blow my nose, it is like a horn. You can hear it rooms away. It is loud and forceful. I am wondering…

    1. Does it sound like a horn when you blow your nose?????

    2. If so, what could we theorise as a result?????

  58. wirriam Says:

    My sneezes stink. It started a few months back. It is not all the time. It is only about half the time. But when it stinks, it really stinks. I have never smelled anything exactly like it. It is a very unique sent. Of course I do not like it. I want to know what the cause is. I want to know what the solution is. I have not had my tonsils out. I have not had my molars out. I have never had an ear infection. I am very healthy and very rarely ill. I do not drink much. I never do illegal drugs. I rarely take any over the counter or prescription drugs. I eat well. I work out regularly. I am not obese. I am about 15 pounds over weight. I am a white male.

  59. Paul Says:

    I had both my tonsils and adenoids out as a child, I wondered if that may have something to do with the sss, but it has only started in the last couple of years and I am now 40. Also it has only been in the last couple of years that in the morning especially after a shower I have to blow my nose several times. I do seem to sometimes swallow some food and breathe at the same time and then a small particle of food can get lodged in the back of my nose. I have also suffered with ear infections, but only over the last 10 years since I gave up smoking, if anyone finds a cure please let me know as it’s embarassing (so is my spelling). Paul. paulmartin68@googlemail.com

  60. lili Says:

    I have the stinky sneezes too. I recently had a salivary gland infection. I did not connect the two until I read these posts about salivary gland lumps. They started at hte same time. thanks for your help, this was driving me crazy.

  61. Michael Says:

    I have looked into a few more areas: First off, allergy test say I have none but I know that poor air quality does play a huge role in my sinus’. Perhaps a hospital grade (not an ionizer or such) air filter might help. Oral hygiene must also play a role so brush, floss, and gargle/rinse. Something to note, tonsils and adenoids produce mucus to trap harmful invaders so having them (as I do) probably has a role too. My nose has been broken and I had a failed septum straightening too. Also, I tend to be a super smeller; I smell everything. Popcorn and pipe smoke are the strongest as I can smell then through a door, across a building, and long after they are gone. There are other things I can smell that would horrify women. I sneeze when I first step out into the sun. My work environment has very poor air quality. Finally, I think that the smell I get from sneezing smells like puppy breath.
    So now we need to see if these thing are common to all of us and then we should look at changing these areas to see what works. Broken nose straightening? Removal of tonsils and adenoids? Air purifiers? Change diet (less red meat or no meat)? Hygiene? As for sealing off a nostril; just put a microban ear plug in it (much cheaper). Start, one at a time, from the cheapest such as hygiene, diet, and nose plugs and then look at the more expensive such as surgery’s (no idea $)and purifiers (about $900).

  62. Johanny Boy Says:

    Dear Fellow afflicted and Friends,
    I have different smells: one is the “typical” dying or fouled matter smell, the another reeks strangely of fiberglass resin, and thirdly another smells of ammonia. But the smells are sporadic and not always noticeable with every sneezing fit. I have atrophic rhinitis which traps bacteria in the nasal passage and sometimes builds a cartilage-like scab that blocks drainage and fresh air, which traps bacteria…. and so on and so forth, continuing the cycle.
    The best thing for this is as always hygiene and a good diet, exercise. My sneezes are not THAT stinky, as I am a 30 yr. vegetarian and that does indeed help. I also get a lanolin/sheeps wool salve for my nose from the ENT specialist. Salt water nose douches are good, but you need to use not just any table salt. Try the health food stores for the best one.

    Dental hygiene i.e. regular brushing AND flossing are vital. But I also still have my tonsils and sometimes get those gross build ups in the back of my throat. Part of the filtering process…

    After some research I have also read of a procedure where they surgically close one nostral for 9 months to let the wound heal that keeps getting infected. I’m saving that for a last resort. Another ENT also wanted to re-break my twice broken nose to straighten it and also “bore it out” to make the passages larger. But after second and third opinions from other ENT’s, I decide for now against this. Can’t imagine that that would help the wound that’s already there to heal. The other doctors agreed.
    After going to school in Florida for three years it got better, but returning to the big city with lots of diesel motors(Germany) it has gotten worse again. So, environment plays also a deciding role. Hope this can help some of you, good luck. John

  63. GFT Says:

    Hahahahaha haa!

    …*clears throat*…
    *Splutters* *coughs* *falls off chair*


  64. tvoyles Says:

    I sneeze about 5 times every day, consitently once every few hours. It is always a BIG, wet, smelly (death smell, NOT sweet or honey…) sneeze. I do not believe I have a lump under my ear… but a gland (or something) in the left part of my throat has become inflamed for a few days, a couple times in the past months. I did have lots of earaches as a kid and even had tubes in my ears, and a few years ago, before this all started, I ruptured an ear drum cannonballing into a pool. I was thinking maybe I had caused a lung problem by smoking too much, but the problem didn’t really start until after I stopped smoking (cigarettes, at least). I can tell you it’s not the smell of ear wax so I would rule out the whole ear wax theory, but it’s possible that childhood ear problems could cause problems with development of the sinus system, and perhaps cause a haven for STINKY bacteria? I can tell you my breath smells fine before I sneeze, so it’s not a dental hygeine issue. I don’t really have allergies but I do usually have to blow my nose once each morning and am fine the rest of the day… maybe there is some sort of bacteria causing this little bit of daily buildup. I will try doing some sinus clearing treatments and get back to you guys soon. If you have any further comments, tips or questions, email me at tvoyles@netownage.com.

  65. Michael Says:

    I have noticed this too: I wear a dust mask at work so when I sneeze the air is trapped for me to smell. Here are some things I have noticed in myself that I wonder if others have. I have a lot of junk in my throat, I have to clear (try to clear) it often, especially after eating or drinking. My dad is worse and we should invent a language of coughs and throat clearing. Also, I have noticed a metallic taste in my throat. Finally, there is a lump under my tongue where I do not believe there should be anything (perhaps a tumor as stated earlier). If anyone does find a cause and solution please let me know.

  66. Tim Says:

    Is it ever nice to find out about all the other SSS sufferers out there. My sneezes smell like strong pollen, or warming honey. My wife, and children have noticed the smell too. It doesn’t happen with every sneeze, not even every strong sneeze. No lumps behind the ear, and the rest of my family does not suffer from this affliction even though I’ve had it for something like five years now.
    I always assumed that it was a buildup of particles that I’m alergic to (like pollens) as it usually happnes when my alergies are acting up. However, that’s also the time I sneeze most, so it may not be an indicator.
    It sure would be nice to have an answer.

  67. rembrandt Says:

    my most forceful sneezes have always smelled like the rhinoceros or elephant area at the zoo to me.
    I assumed it was how my lungs must smell?
    I also had bad nose bleeds as a child.

  68. Brian Says:

    StinksSometimes –
    Yes, I have the smelly sneezes, and yes, I have had the lump under my left ear since I was young.

  69. theresa Says:

    Hi stink sometimes, please go see your doctor and have the lump checked out most prob just a swollen gland but it is always best to have lumps checked by a doctor

  70. StinksSometimes Says:

    I have a stinky sneeze once every ten sneezes or less. Nothing sweet or honey-scented at all- really just rotten smelling. I don’t thinnk that anyone else in my family has the same issue. I don’t have any major sinus afflictions, but I do suffer from allergy issues from time to time. I am a vegetarian. I have my tonsils, and sometimes get accumulated food particles stuck in one of them- the particles will dislodge and smell like death. Different than the sneeze smell, but in the same family of stinkiness. I read a previous post and now realize that I DO have a lump under my left ear- which is all too coincidental to me. Anyone else have that lump?

  71. MomToStinkySneezeBoy Says:

    My son too suffers from stinky sneeze syndrome as well. He too laughs when he grosses everyone out. I keep telling him to sneeze into his armpit so that we don’t have to suffer the rath of his stinky sneezes (he never only sneezes once).

    He has had ENT problems and has had major ear surgery to repair a ruptured ear drum. I mentioned it to the ENT one time and he said it was something not related to the issue we were talking about at the time – but then he never went on to elaborate…. So I figure it isn’t anything serious – just annoying…

    never though about the time when he is married and grossing his wife out…. Maybe we’ll bring it up again at the next ENT appointment..

  72. huma Says:

    i am a 29 year old woman. my sneezes are small but have a sweet smell.

  73. Kristoffer Says:

    I have SSS and first noticed it when I was about 15. My sneezes didn’t smell too often, but over time they started to smell more frequently. It’s really terrible because I have bad allergies, so whenever I’m in the car with my family during the allergy season, they have to roll down their windows to let the smell out at least once during the drive. My father had the same problem, but it went away after he discovered he had a brain tumor and had it removed with the doctors going through his nose. He says that he had a deviated septum and that the doctors fixed it, but I have no idea if that’s just what he says or what the doctors say. I barely ever eat meat, so that doesn’t seem to be the problem, and I’ve used a Netti pot to rinse my sinuses, but it doesn’t seem to work as it should. It was demonstrated on Oprah that the Netti pot sends salt water through one nostril and has all of the water exit out of the other nostril, but with me only about half of the water exited from the opposite nostril, the rest exited through the mouth. That might be due to a deviated septum, and it is possible that many people suffering from SSS are actually suffering from deviated septums, as with the person who described their nasal passages twisting all over the place when they shouldn’t be, and the SSS is just a side effect. In other cases it may be due to a bad salivary glands as with the person who had a tumor on their salivary gland. I hope I helped somewhat.

  74. Eran Says:

    Yep. me too. I also had lots of nosebleeds when i was younger (occasionally even now) usually due to dry weather or something to that effect. i used to live near a recycling plant so its possible the glass in the air tore me up a bit internally. but i think thats besides the point.

    My sneezes smell like death…i dont know where people are getting honey smells from mine smell like roadkill. I just try to gargle mouthwash, eat less meat and not drink things with syrup in them (which is almost every other drink aside from water) because i notice that it gives me sticky spit and when i swallow i can almost feel it going up my nasal passage. Lets try to get some more cure going.

  75. derekpatterson Says:

    This happens to me too, although it’s only begin very recently (about two weeks ago). Now I know what it smells like to me, and excuse me for being VERY crude here, but it smells like menstrual blood (years ago, I worked in a place that changed the sanitary bins all to sparsely and the smell has stuck in my head).

    Nobody else seems to notice it, and it lasts for seconds, but it has made me very curious.

  76. odiliablomer Says:

    I too have sss. I find anthony’s addition about having nosebleeds a lot as a child to be very intresting!! I’d love to hear from other sss folk if they had noose bleeds? I did have a lot of ear aches as a child as well. Had my tonsils out at 18. Did not really notice my sss until adulthood and maybe only every 1 in 8 sneezes seem to smell.

    I eat meat sparingly, do not have other sinus or dental issues, or headaches that correspond.

  77. Anthony Says:

    Hi, I also have this and so has my father. He said it was his sinuses, and managed this problem and blocked nose with inhaling ” Olbas Oil” – http://www.olbas.co.uk , he would put a few drops into a bowl of hot water and placing a towel over his head like a mini-stream sauna.

    With consent from others, i use the oil in my gym’s sauna, it has a refreshing Eucalyptus scent.

    My diet is not particularly meaty and the only other background mfeature was that i had a lot of nose bleeds as a child. So far this website has been the best source of serious discussion and sharing and I’d like us to encourage more. if we cannot find a solution, then lets find the best way to manage it. if anyone can find the secret to getting to smell sweet, then I’d be a happy man.

    I like the idea of Tea Tree Oil mentioned before and will give this a go.

    Has anyone actually solved this with the help of a medical doctor ?

  78. Dr. JD O'Kennedy Says:

    Your answer- Many of you have mentioned various factors which are all elements of the underlying etiology of so-called sss. It is very similar and closely related to that of haliatosis (bad breath). The ear canals would also contribute. You see the oral cavity, sinuses, ear canals and all their associated glands are interconnected. This implies that any pocket of smelly debri (food particals in any part of this interconnected system, especially at the back of the throat) -you would obviously experience the effects of this static food particles more in the case of meat ingestion because meat is more prone to be smely when fermented or to ferment in the first place. Any infection of fluids in this system, especially glandular fluid from the ears, salivary glands, sinuses or general mucous membranes would have the same effect. The various glands may either be directly secreting the stinky fluids or the fluids may be made stinky so to speak along their various pathways after being secreted i.e. its either a infected gland or infected tissue or debri along the ‘fluid pathway’. So in short anything that would cause or exacerbate any of the abovementioned is your cause of sss. So what to do then: *Frequent brushing of teeth and very importantly the tongue and gargling to clean the back of the throat-the back of the throat and tongue is a very common site of the smelly fluids.
    *Extra attention to the abovementioned after consuming foods which exacerbate e.g. meat and coffee and early mornings
    *Making sure your ear canals are clean
    *Use sprays to clear up your sinuses (salt water works well)
    *Make sure your tonsils, salivary glands, ear canals or sinuses are not inflamed or infected- the putred fluids may also be coming from fluids from infection lower down in the resp. tract.

  79. lou Says:

    mine smell like cat pee i think it might be ear wax leakage eeeeyuk! any way of clearing it up help please

    • Angelo Says:

      Lou did you ever find out what made your sneezes small like cat pee? Also, I have had a wierd fowl smell at top of ear where it meets my head. Everything i read about that says its normal oil and rubbing alchol is the only fix. I am just wondering if you had this two ear and sneeze smell are related. I read something about sneezes smell like cat pee due to Food in sinus or vomit and particles remaining in sinus go fowl and smell in sneeze. Any information wud be appreciated. One said ti could be excess ear wax. as sinus and ear way are connect. One lady said saliva gland tumor 905 are benign. All Yuck. Thanks.

  80. al Says:

    I too suffer from smelly sneezes and have always had a tiny lump behind my right ear, it will be big (not huge) some days and small/barely noticeable other days.

  81. stu Says:

    I to have this problem, lilacs or honey. I have felt the knot below my ear similar to what Theresa described. Anyone else note this?

  82. shari Says:

    mine smell like roses…weird

  83. tomsyn Says:

    I too have the sss problem. theres two things that I read on here that caught my attention. the first is meat- less meat and more veggies and fruits..second is saliva glands. I been dealing with this for a very long time..I think there needs to be a cure. but before that a cause of how would be nice. I eat garlic and drink tea…being asian that’s a regular thing. if anyone has more info please share

  84. Big Daddy D Says:

    My wife complains about the smell of my sneezes. She says that they don’t smell like honey but I think that they actually do… it’s just that the smell of honey in this context is a bit gross and not as pleasent as you’d associate with honey.

    But, they don’t all stink. It’s usually just really big sneezes that smell. And, I’m starting to think that it’s not my sinuses afterall causing the smell. I think the big sneezes force air out of my ears and that the smell may be caused by a mild ear infection or even ear wax. Any thoughts?

  85. sss victim's sister Says:

    My brother also does smelly sneezes most of the time. He thinks it’s hilarious so he isn’t too worried about it.

    But I on the other hand can’t stand it and I have to physically leave the room when he sneezes to escape the smell, while he falls about laughing.

    His sneezes have smelt like this for as long as he can remember, and the sneeze smells like rape seed and smelly magazines (does anyone remember what the ‘Sneak’ magazine smelt like?).

    Does anyone please have any information or possible solutions?
    Much appreciated.

  86. smellysneezer Says:

    Its not the sneeze that smells, its the resulting fart that you don’t realise you done at the same time

  87. Theresa Says:

    do not what to be alarmist it could be con-incidence but as no research is being done i think i should share my story – started 6 yrs ago every now and then a smelly wet sneeze, the smell would last minutes a bacterial smell yucky, would only happen every now and then, in 06 early 07 the sneezes started becoming more regular, had CT scans results were nasal passages clear a slight thickening but nothing to worry about use rhinocort that will help, sneezes continued i was refered to an ENT who looked up my, nose down my throat in my ears all OK, then he felt my glands thou and behold hidden just below and behind my left year a small lump, i couldnt feel it he could, a lump, a tumour in the salivary gland (accina cell carcinoma) 90% cases benign, I had it removed 7 months ago and since then no smelly sneezes maybe a co-incidence but ask for your salivary glands to be checked out.

  88. Pete Says:

    I have very similar symptoms to many of you:
    1. Smelly sneeze – musky, over-ripe smell (been like this for as long as I can remember)
    2. No especially bad breath though (except for mornings and after coffee, like everyone!:))
    3. Post nasal drip – leads to little coughs intermittently throughout the day, worst after having just eaten food (esp dairy and cold stuff – ice cream the worst)
    4. Very stuffy nose at night and in the morning (esp night) – makes me feel like I have a perpetual cold when I don’t.
    5. I have had xrays and the ENT specialist said my channel(s) in my nose cavity were twisted and the space for breathing/fluids was very small – he has asked me to cosnider surgery to straighted channels and cut out some
    lining to clear the passages. Not sure if it’s worth the risk?

    Anyone had this surgery – comment on if they’ve found it worth it?


  89. Nicholas Says:

    I’ve been smelling something terrible when i sneeze for close to a couple years now. absolutely terrible. I figure its some type of infection but was hoping i could scour the internet for a home remedy and save myself a trip to the doctors.

    another strange thing: 3 or 4 times in the last two years (im 23 and have never had this problem) i was in the middle of eating and accidently sucked some of my food into my sinus cavity without realizing it. of course minutes later a sneezing attack ensues and pieces of sandwich come flying out my nose? Im not talking about a little piece of bread. i mean like and entire bite, a big one. and as far as i could tell, i thought id swallowed it.

    could i be doing this regularly? maybe i keep accidently stuffing food into my nose?

  90. lee from birmingham uk. Says:

    it is amazing howmany people suffer this highly embarrasing affliction. i too have sss(as some people call it..lol) and am happy to sneeze freely infront of my wife and kids, as i often laugh my head off at their reactions… however when i am with other people, try and hold my breath when i sneeze, which has caused me a huge amount of pulled back muscles, burst blood vessels in my eye, and large amount of snot sprayed into my hands through the gap in my tight lips.
    what can i do…mine smells like rape seed, or cats pee. its vile… any cures yet.

  91. S Says:

    My father, sister and I all are cursed with stinky sneeze syndrome (SSS). I think that it is worth noting that two of the commenters above also mentioned that their fathers had SSS. To me this is more than coincidence. Somehow SSS is influence by genetics. Either A) my family has a nasal cavity ideally structured for aerosolization of snot or rife with pockets to collect decaying food/snot (a lovely thought) or B) my father, sister and I are able to achieve homoeostasis with a bacterium that is suppressed in most others (I suspect this is the case).

    Could be a heck of a medical research thesis for someone.

  92. Daniel Says:

    Got a sinus infection about 1 1/2 yers go that smelled pretty bad. Ended up having surgery for a mass that was blocking sinuses. Six months later i still have occsional pink drainage but also a really sickly sweet, bordering on rotten smell.It’s definitely coming from the surgery side and the doc says it is because they removed the part of the lining and it can’t shed liquids like normal. I,m seriously not convinced that this is some kind of infection and that there is still someplace in there that stuff is getting trapped.

  93. John Says:

    Clostridium bacteria family seems more likely than psuedomonas… This is alomst certainly bacterial in orgin.

  94. Bruce Says:

    Interesting phenomenon but I think I stumbled across the answer. For years, my sneezes reeked horribly often times being compared to “death”.
    Well, lo and behold, over the last six months, I’ve gone from being a huge meat eater (little fruits and vegetables) to being a huge fruit and vegetable eater (very little meat). Lo and behold, my sneezes no longer reek of death. So, my conclusion is the “death” smell was from animal carcass decomposing in my own body. Pretty gross, but true. So, instead of worrying about bacteria in your sinuses, you may want to examine your diet as a source of stinky sneezes.

  95. G M Says:

    My sneezes smell sickly-sweet when I sneeze strongly, mainly if I’ve been having a snot accumulation due to allergies or a head cold. The smell is sort of like a chemically odor of lilacs and honey. Cloying. It permeates the air for a while after the sneeze. Some Googling has suggested that it may be the result of Pseudomonas infection, as bacteria in that genus often give off a “fruity” odor, are a known human pathogen, and form immune-resistant biofilms. They’re aerobic and like moist places, likely making the sinuses ideal for them. Note however that it was just some random person suggesting Psuedomonas, not a doctor.

  96. Jason Greene Says:

    I am 27 and have noticed this for the past 10 years or so. My father suffered from this as well. I have just started searching for answers and this is my very, very 1st stop.

  97. Reinpro Says:

    Dealing with the same nonsense. I’m 35 and rarely if ever get even a cold, let alone sinus/upper respitory infections. This has only reared its ugly and smelly head a few years ago. The only thing I really battle are migraines, wonder if there is connection?

  98. Clayton Nikanowicz Says:

    My sneezes could knock a buzzard off a turd wagon. My girlfriend cannot stand the smell and says that it almost makes her sick. I’ve done a little research and have not found anything solid yet.

  99. herbsrme Says:

    also, it has been proven that the fumes from many things like garlic, onion and tea tree oil carry the properties of the actual thing just not as intense- and I LOVE the smell of tea tree oil-smell the bottle or but some in a diffuser- great for sick rooms to kill germs too!

  100. herbsrme Says:

    I have the same problem and have decided that I am going to find out what works once and for all, but it has to be natural!

    Spirulina is detoxifying and has antiinflammatory as well as other helpful properties. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and garlic and antibacterial, antiviral and antiinflammatory properties. That and the washes have been working so far- that and i don’t eat meat it causes inflammation.

  101. P Says:

    I feel your pain. I suffer as well. So does my father. I first noticed it in him when I was younger and traveling in the car together. Very musty, soured, yeasty odor, somewhat offensive, and definitely noticeable. I never said anything about it to him.

    In the past 8-10 years, I have noticed the same odor from my sneezes. Actually, I can’t smell my sneezes, but my daughter and a close friend have both definitely noticed it. Very offensive.

    I do have sinus issues regularly, including sinus/septum area bleeding, alergies, etc. It is very annoying/frustrating. I went to one dr of ENT, who was a total waste of time and resources; have been thinking of exploring others for opinions/treatment. If I don’t monitor/treat it closely with daily decongestants/antihistimines, I notice my ears getting full, with sinus congestion, followed by a 10 day sinus infection that knocks me on my duff.

    I also occasionaly do complicated nasal rinses with warm saltwater to help kill growth. Lying on my back, head hanging off the side of the bed, and slowly squirting the saltwater into my nose and let it flow back into my sinuses, “gargling” the solution as I breath throug my nose. Then spitting, blowing it out, or letting it run out. Pretty gross I know, but I feel is somewhat helpful.

    My own theory is that I am unnaturally(though not totally uncommon) accumulating fluids in my sinus cavities that harbor bacterial/viral infections, with the bacterial growth/decay/byproducts being the source of the odor. I can’t prove it, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    I do plan to research this some more, hopefully find a competent MD out there who has some factual first-hand experience with this, and proceed accordingly. I have heard of a new “balloon” procedure used to open up passage ways between sinuses so they more readily flow/drain. I hope to look into this further as well.

    Hope this thread helps! In the meantime, I’m stepping outside to sneeze, or pinching the bridge of my nose to stop the sneeze in public. Best of luck to all you suffers! Please email me with help! pelee123@yahoo.com

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