Stifling a sneeze can be a dangerous thing to do, as one man recently discovered. Doctors are warning people that clamping your nostrils and closing your mouth to halt a sneeze could harm you, after a man was admitted to hospital with a ruptured throat.
The 34-year-old British man was injured after he tried to stop a high-force sneeze. The air pressure caused by closing off his airways “blew back” and damaged the soft tissue of his throat.
He said he felt a “popping” sensation in his neck immediately afterwards and had pain and difficulty swallowing and speaking. He developed complications when air bubbles got into his lungs. He had to be fed through a tube for a week.
Although what happened to the man is extremely rare, doctors advise that if you have to sneeze, let it out. They also warned that trapping a sneeze could damage the ear drums or even cause a brain aneurysm, in a report published in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
The man had to be fed by a tube for the next seven days to allow time for his throat to heal. He has since made a full recovery.
The incident serves as a reminder to not block a sneeze. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry tissues with you to catch your sneezes and prevent spreading germs.