Have you also experienced it when you want to sneeze in the worst of situations? You try to hold it back, but eventually you just can’t and the sneeze becomes louder than it would have been!
A recently released case report reaffirms one of life’s important lessons: Don’t try to hold back a sneeze. Especially, don’t do it by plugging up your nose and mouth—you just might end up in the emergency room with a gaping hole in your throat.
Because he was at high risk of a deep neck and chest infection, the man was admitted to the hospital, put on a feeding tube, and given cautionary antibiotics.
Thankfully the man did recover. By day 7, his throat had healed enough that he was taken off the feeding tube and soon after discharged from the hospital—with instructions to avoid holding in his sneezes. A subsequent check-up two months later revealed no further problems.
Held-in sneezing, they noted, has not only led to torn throats and chests, but burst eardrums and ruptured blood vessels in the brain, the latter of which could be fatal. (Uninhibited sneezing has also been linked to deaths, but these cases often involve people in already fragile health.)
Again, as the doctors write, these cases are extreme oddities, so you shouldn’t be too worried. On the other hand, of all the ways we could shuffle off this mortal coil, death by blocked sneezing has surely got to be one of the most embarrassing. So probably best to just play it safe and keep a tissue or at least the inside of your arm handy whenever you feel a tickle in your nose.
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