Doctors warn against suppressing a developing sneeze, since there is a risk of catastrophic complications such as a ruptured ear drum and even your lungs collapsing.
Sneezing in public has grown increasingly taboo over the last 18 months, especially with people on high alert for the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, did you even know that suppressing a sneeze might actually be harmful to your health?
This common cold season, experts have issued a strong warning to anyone who has been infected with the virus to ensure they let their sneezes occur normally, as attempting to hold them in could result in severe complications.
While the consequences of holding in sneezes are uncommon, they can result in significant harm as the sneeze attempts to exit your nose at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
Ear, nose and throat experts at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust warned:
“Halting sneezing via blocking the nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided.
“It may lead to numerous complications, such as getting air trapped in the chest between both lungs, perforating your eardrum, and even rupture of a cerebral aneurysm, which is a ballooning blood vessel in the brain.”
Most of the common side effects from holding in a sneeze are painful, but not life-threatening.
Doctors warned you could end up with a ruptured eardrum if you block your nose while sneezing, as the air that’s trying to get out through your nose will be diverted into the tube connecting your ear and eardrum.
And while a ruptured eardrum could leave you with hearing loss, there’s also a potential for a nasty ear infection to develop.
Sneezing pushes out anything in your nose that shouldn’t be there, so by blocking your nose when you sneeze, those germs could end up in your ears causing an infection to take hold.
But if that wasn’t enough to make you sneeze with confidence, there are even more risks to holding back that could even put your life in danger.
Doctors have reported cases of pressurised air getting trapped in the diaphragm causing people’s lungs to collapse, which could land you in hospital and may even result in death.
And in very rare cases, there’s a potential for you to suffer from a brain aneurysm due to the build-up of pressure in the skull.
So, if you find yourself in bed with a cold this winter, listen to your body and let your sneezes fly – just follow the advice of catch it, bin it, kill it.
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