Now that we’re in the midst of allergy season in the northern hemisphere, many of us find ourselves in a difficult situation. need to sneeze in a quiet theater room or with a newly sleeping child in the next room. At this point, a dilemma arises that you must quickly decide: do you sneeze and pray that no one gets your attention, or do you prefer hold back your sneeze and do you take risks?

We’ve all heard at some point that holding in a sneeze can be dangerous. Even deadly. We usually think that this is a myth, but in fact it is not. The truth is that holding in a sneeze is unlikely to cause anything bad, but the ability to escape certain risks yes, it exists.

These risks can be as minor as a sore throat or as serious as a ruptured aneurysm. Cases of the latter have been reported, and while they may seem anecdotal, they are a clear argument for stopping holding in a sneeze when we see it coming.

Pressure from holding back a sneeze

The purpose of sneezing is to expel any microbial agent or substance that may irritate our eyes. Airways. We expel large amounts of air through our nose and mouth, so foreign agents they shoot. It also serves to clear the nose or throat if we have severe nasal congestion. This happens completely involuntarily, although sometimes, if we are so inclined, we can provoke it by actions such as looking at sunlight.

One thing is clear: a large amount of compressed air is released. What happens if we hold in our sneeze? Well, essentially, this pressure remains in our chest. In fact, it is estimated that the pressure exerted when holding a sneeze is 20 times more than what is released when you sneeze. Since it is estimated that sneezing releases 1 kPa, holding a sneeze would mean maintaining air pressure in the airway at 20 kPa, which is roughly equivalent to the pressure inside a volleyball.

When you sneeze, air is released under high pressure. James Ghatani (Wikimedia)

It makes sense that your breasts might hurt.

One of the most common consequences of holding in a sneeze is chest pain. This happens because the remaining pressure puts pressure on diaphragmcausing pain that may spread to the ribs

Be careful with your ears

The ears are connected to the nose through eustachian tubes. When you hold back a sneeze, the lingering pressure can move from your nose to your ear, directly compressing the sneeze. eardrum and may cause damage.

Additionally, if the sneezing is caused by an infection, escaping germs can also enter the ear, causing an infection. otitis.

Air can confuse where is your place

The air that is not released when the sneeze is delayed can accumulate under the skin of the face. In this case, something known as subcutaneous emphysema, which causes painful bumps on the skin. Cases have been reported of people even having emphysema accompanied by a broken jaw due to holding in a sneeze.

Other types of injuries from holding back a sneeze

The pressure from holding back a sneeze can also cause injury to the pharynx, larynx, or esophagus. In 2018, for example, a case was reported of a man who went to the emergency room with neck pain and difficulty swallowing after holding back a sneeze. It turned out that he had cervical subcutaneous emphysema and, in addition, pharyngeal rupture.

strangulation angina
Delayed sneezing can cause the throat to rupture. Credit: William Priess (Unsplash)

An aneurysm rupture is unlikely, but it is not impossible.

It is true that cases of aneurysm rupture due to holding in sneezes have been reported. This may be the least likely consequence, but It’s not impossible.

For this reason, and because prevention is better than cure, it is best to sneeze when necessary. If we have no choice, we can try lightly scratching the roof of our mouth with our tongue or rubbing our nose, but remembering that if we sneeze, it is for a reason. Release the air. Those around you will understand.

Source: Hiper Textual

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