Foreign Affairs
Dangerous to block nose and mouth when sneezing

When you’re about to sneeze, don’t hold it back. Release it, as you might otherwise cause damage to yourself.

A 34-year-old Briton learnt his lesson for life when he had to spend two weeks in hospital as a result of an unusual injury. According to a report in the British Medical Journal, BMJ, the man sprained his neck by holding back a sneeze.

The report says the man blocked his nose and kept his mouth closed to stop himself from sneezing, believing it was not hygienic to sneeze in people’s faces. As a consequence he experienced a strange sensation in his neck and throat. At the time he did not feel anything, but some hours later he was beset by severe pain in the neck and throat.

His neck soon swelled up and his voice changed, so he took himself off to hospital. Doctors later told him he had ruptured his throat when he held back the sneeze. The patient was administered antibiotics and had to be tube-fed. The symptoms improved within a week, and the man moved on to soft foods until he gradually recovered.

These problems ith sneezing are rare, with doctors stating they normally see patients with these conditions after a heavy cough or a strong bout of vomiting. The man’s injury was so strange in this case that it was symptomatic of a firearm or knife injury or swallowing a sharp object.

On a positive note, the man did not sustain permanent damage, but doctors are warning that no one should hold back a sneeze by blocking one’s nose and mouth, as this could be a dangerous manoeuvre and can lead to very serious complications.


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