Don’t halt –say ‘yes’ to sneezing

by Marshaneil Soumi D’ Rozario | 07 FEB 2018

dont halt  say yes to sneezing
 Image used for representational purpose only

A recent incident that took the emergency care doctor by surprise was the symptoms displayed by a 34 years young man. The young man somehow managed to rupture the back of his throat during his manoeuvre, resulting in inability to speak or swallow and reasonable pain. Spontaneous rupture of the back of the throat is usually rare, and is occasionally caused by trauma, or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing. However in this case, the logic behind this symptom is slightly diverse. In his words, he developed a popping sensation in his neck after a forceful sneeze. His neck swelled immediately after he tried to contain the sneeze by pinching his nose along with mouth clamped shut. Within a short span of time he found it extremely arduous to swallow along with a lost voice.



Sneezing is an overwhelming dominating human action, blasting mucus and air from the nose and mouth at up to 100 miles per hour. Human beings have the power to sneeze or to hold. When the young man was readily examined by the doctors, they heeded popping and crackling sounds (crepitus), which extended from his neck all the way down to his ribcage. A sure sign that air bubbles had found their way into the deep tissue and muscles of the chest, which was subsequently confirmed by a computed tomography scan. Because of the risk of serious complications, the man was admitted to hospital, where he was fed by tube and given intravenous antibiotics until the swelling and pain had subsided.



Doctors discharged him after seven days after a harrowing experience and advised him not to block both his nostrils while sneezing in near future. ‘Halting sneezing via blocking the nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre, and should be avoided’, caution the doctors. "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.



 Sneezes are mostly caused due to the invasion of foreign particles or dirt disturbing the sensitivity of the mucous membrane present in our nose and throat. Sneezes can also be generated through allergies, nasal irritants, viruses from common cold or flu ,consumption of corticosteroids ( through nasal spray)etc. One should avoid things that can catapult into sneezes. Try to protect your body from various bacteria and viruses. Though, doctors suggest that sneezing is an important part of the immune process enabling in keeping your body safe. The habit of holding back your sneezes considering it to be unhygienic can consequently lead to unwarranted complications. Blocking your nostrils or clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

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