KUALA LUMPUR: You might want to think twice about holding in a sneeze.
When sitting in a quiet theatre or packed train, suppressing a sneeze may seem like a courteous option. But doctors have warned against this practice.
Ear, throat, and nose specialists at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust released details of a man who suffered complications after pinching his nose and clamping his mouth to stop a sneeze.
In the report 'Snap, crackle and pop: when sneezing leads to crackling in the neck' published on Monday, Jan 15, medical experts described the case of a 34-year-old man who admitted himself to hospital after noticing changes in his voice.
According to the report, the "previously fit" man pinched his nose and kept his mouth closed during a "forceful" sneeze. He told doctors he immediately felt a popping sensation in his neck, and there was a change in his voice – that was when he admitted himself into the emergency ward.
Upon closer examination, doctors revealed the cause: little "streaks of air" embedded in the soft tissue of his neck – a condition known as subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum.
In other words, he blew a small hole in his throat
"This 34-year-old chap said he was always trying to hold his sneeze because he thinks it is very unhygienic to sneeze into the atmosphere or into someone's face. That means he's been holding his sneezes for the last 30 years or so, but this time it was different," case report author Dr Wanding Yang told CNN.
Fearing that an infection could form, doctors hospitalised the man, who was given a feeding tube and put on a regimen of antibiotics. He was released two weeks later after the wounds in his neck healed.
The moral of this story? Don't suppress your sneeze – just let it rip!
"Halting sneezing via blocking the nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre, and should be avoided," Yang added.
"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)."
But for the sake of your co-workers, friends, and everyone you hold dear, please use a tissue or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. – SAYS.COM