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Is It Bad For You To Hold In A Sneeze?

August 03, 2015 2 min read

People sometimes find really creative, and inventive, ways to hurt themselves. Spend any amount of time talking to an ER doc (or surfing the net) and you'll know this is true. Holding in a sneeze is certainly one of those inventive ways to injure yourself. What can happen? Any number of things, including perforated eardrums, fractured larynx, acute cervical pain and facial nerve injuries to name a few. “I’ve seen patients with a ruptured eardrum or pulled back muscles, and you hear about cracked ribs,” says Dr. Michael Benninger, an otolaryngologist and chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Sneezes come in a range of sizes but did you know that a sneeze can expel air from your body up to 500 miles per hour? Think about that for a second. We're lucky holding in a sneeze doesn't cause more damage! Most of us have held a sneeze before and Benniger is quick to point out that most of the time, it isn't a problem. Benninger says a preexisting musculoskeletal injury or weakness, odd ear or throat physiology or some other anatomical quirk could lead to trouble with a held in sneeze. So even though you aren't likely to suffer damage, you should remember that sneezes aren't meant to be held in. “Sneezing probably cleanses the nose of irritants, viruses and those types of things,” Benninger explains. You may have noticed the word "probably" and that is because there is evidence that a sneeze may do other things like signal you that you are becoming sick and resetting the homeostatic environment in your nose. What is Benninger's advice? Sneeze, dammit. Don't hold it in. “If you feel one coming on and you want to stop it, rubbing your nose can help,” he says. If you experience pain when you sneeze -- I have a herniated disc in my back, I know pain on sneezing -- Benninger suggests opening your mouth as wide as you can to decrease the pressure of the sneeze. “It’s like forcing water through a pipe,” he says. “If the air can escape through your nose and mouth, that creates less pressure than forcing it through a smaller opening.” When you do finally let the sneeze go, remember to do so into the crook of your arm. We want you to be pain free but we don't want your projectiles all over everything! Source: Time Do you follow us on Instagram? [caption id="attachment_101621" align="alignnone" width="100"]snapchat snapcode @BodyRockTV[/caption]

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