Doctors Warn Against Holding Sneezes In After It Nearly Killed A Man

A 34-year-old man had to be fed through a tube for a week after stifling a sneeze!

You know how sometimes when you feel a sneeze coming you try to hold it in or stifle it so it’s not so obvious? Doctors are now saying you shouldn’t do that.

Throughout my life, I’ve taken plenty of grief over my sneeze—which some perceive as loud and dramatic. I’ll admit that when I feel a sneeze coming on, I make no attempt to stifle it. While some may consider my sneezing style obnoxious, it turns out letting it fly is the healthier option, compared to trying to hold it in.

Doctors’ current warning against holding your nose and clamping your mouth shut to make sneezes less obvious comes after a freak accident left a man unable to speak or swallow.

According to an article published in BMJ Case Reports, a 34-year-old man ruptured his throat when he tried to stifle a sneeze. He was in a lot of pain and eventually had difficulty swallowing and began to lose his voice. The doctors discovered that air had escaped into the man’s chest, which could cause serious complications. The unidentified man ended up in the hospital for a week, where he was given IV antibiotics and had to be fed through a tube.

Although this type of injury is rare, this man’s case proves that it can happen. Doctors also warn that trying to stifle a sneeze in this way can perforate the ear drums and even rupture a blood vessel in the brain. And that’s not all! Attempting to squash a sneeze can also lead to air pockets in the eye—a condition known as orbital emphysema. There was even a case of someone who sustained permanent hearing loss after trying to hold in a sneeze.

sneezing photo
Getty Images | Mark Wilson

“The whole point in sneezing is that you don’t hold a sneeze in,” rhinology specialist professor Richard Harvey from the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Don’t hold your sneeze in. And don’t force your nose blow.”

So, next time you feel a sneeze coming on, you know what to do: let it rip! Doctor’s orders.