When you are present in a crowded room or a library, you might often find yourself stopping your urge to sneeze. Sneezing in front of a large number of people or a silent room is indeed an embarrassing experience for many. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the government announced that the primary symptoms of the infection were cough and cold, we became even more self-conscious about sneezing in public.
However, many doctors advise against the practice of holding your sneeze because stifling a sneeze can have adverse effects on your body. If you are someone who has the habit of refraining from sneezing, take a step back. Here are 5 of the most common health hazards of curbing a sneeze.
Rupturing of eardrums
Holding a sneeze can cause the rupture of your eardrums. When you suppress a sneeze, high pressure builds inside the respiratory system which passes through the eustachian tube which connects your middle ear and eardrum. The high pressure can result in the tear of either one or both of your eardrums, rendering hearing loss. Although the rupture heals on its own, sometimes surgery is required.
An ear infection is another severe effect of stifling a sneeze. When you sneeze, the dirt and bacteria formed in your nose get released. However, stopping a sneeze can have a reverse effect as the unwanted bacteria or mucus is pushed forcefully into the ears through the nasal opening resulting in a painful middle ear infection.
Injuring the diaphragm
One of the least common yet dangerous side effects of curbing a sneeze is injuring your diaphragm. The accumulated pressure, which is trapped in the diaphragm can damage the lungs leading to lung failure as well. In case of mild injuries, you will feel a painful stinging in your chest.
Apart from eardrum rupturing, holding in a sneeze can pose an even greater risk of a brain aneurysm. The rupture of a brain aneurysm can lead to profuse internal bleeding around the brain. Although it is a rare occurrence, a brain aneurysm is considered a serious health hazard.
Damaging the throat:
To stop sneezing, you might often close your mouth, pinch your nose and hold your breath. This is a life-threatening practice as it damages the back of your throat, causing excruciating pain. If the throat will swell up and you will be unable to swallow or even speak. Emergency medical attention is required for this injury.