Apparently forcefully holding in a sneeze can be a risky decision. Fitting findings for flu season, although it could be added that sneezing into the elbow crevice is generally the best practice at lessening potentially infectious particles.
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn’t a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
One young man managed to rupture the back of his throat during this manoeuvre, leaving him barely able to speak or swallow, and in considerable pain.
Spontaneous rupture of the back of the throat is rare, and usually caused by trauma, or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing, so the 34 year old’s symptoms initially surprised the emergency care doctors.
The young man explained that he had developed a popping sensation in his neck which immediately swelled up after he tried to contain a forceful sneeze by pinching his nose and keeping his mouth clamped shut at the same time.
“Halting sneezing via blocking [the] nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre, and should be avoided,” caution the authors.
“It may lead to numerous complications, such as pseudomediastinum [air trapped in the chest between both lungs], perforation of the tympanic membrane [perforated eardrum], and even rupture of a cerebral aneurysm [ballooning blood vessel in the brain],” they explain.