Stifling sneezes can be health hazard in rare cases

Airway Rupture

Airway Rupture

According to an article published in BMJ Case Reports, a 34-year-old man ruptured his throat when he tried to stifle a sneeze.

I'm fairly sure that that statistic isn't backed up by peer-reviewed research, but you get my point.

A sneeze is a reflex action, the body's attempt to expel unwanted allergens from the upper respiratory passages. Dr Wanding Yang, author of the case study, further explained that the man had always tried to control his sneeze because it was unhygienic to sneeze when there are other people around.

The man reported that he felt a popping sensation in his neck which began to swell after he had suppressed a sneeze by pinching his nostrils and keeping his mouth closed; he later found it very painful to swallow.

Before long, the man noticed that there was something wrong, particularly that there was pain whenever he swallowed and a change in his voice.

Preferably that can be accomplished with a tissue, but a sleeve or elbow is still better than covering your face with your hands, which could spread the mucus coming out of your nose around when you touch things. As per the study, spontaneous rupture of the back of the throat is rare, and is generally caused by trauma, or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing.

When the doctors examined him, they detected cracking and popping sounds, or crepitus, from his neck down to his ribcage. This is a clue that air bubbles had flowed into his chest. The doctors discovered that air had escaped into the man's chest, which could cause serious complications.

In the hospital, he was given intravenous antibiotics to heal the swelling and reduce pain. In total, he spent 7 days in hospital before he was well enough to leave.

"Blocking both nostrils and the mouth may lead to an excessive build-up of air pressure against the pharynx, and people with weak pharyngeal walls may be vulnerable to such complications".

When you gotta sneeze, let it rip or suffer the consequences.

Doctors warn that stopping a sneeze by blocking nostrils and the mouth is a unsafe and should be avoided, as it may lead to numerous complications including rupture of cerebral aneurysm. You don't want to fire germs willy-nilly from all your facial orifices each time you sneeze, especially not during season - you're more considerate than that, I know.

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