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Man blows a crack in his throat - Why sneezing shouldn't be suppressed
Be it when cooking, when pepper gets into your nose, when walking, when pollen is flying, or because of a cold: everyone has to sneeze from time to time. However, some also try to suppress sneezing out of courtesy. A case from Great Britain shows why this is not a good idea. There, a man contracted a tear in his throat muscles.
Innate protection mechanism
Sneezing is an innate protective mechanism that ensures that nasal secretions, dust and other foreign bodies are removed from the nose. For hygienic reasons, you should of course always hold your hand or sneeze into the crook of your arm. But there are also people who suppress sneezing for reasons of courtesy. However, this can be dangerous, as a UK case shows. There a man tried to suppress the impulse and contracted a tear in the throat muscles.
Don't suppress sneezing
Suppressing the sneezing is actually a polite gesture. But whoever does this also endangers their health. A 34-year-old man from Great Britain had to experience this painfully. His case is reported in the British Medical Journal.
According to the information, the 34-year-old had come to the emergency room of the University Hospitals of Leicester (England) with severe pain when swallowing and a croaky voice.
The patient said the discomfort started after trying to pinch the nostrils and keep the mouth closed while a sneezer was huge.
He immediately felt a throbbing feeling on the back of his neck, and a little later the pain in the throat began.
When the throat swelled and his voice changed, he decided to go to the hospital.
Cracked throat muscles
When the doctors examined him, they heard a crunching, crackling sound from the neck down to the chest, suggesting that air bubbles had entered his chest muscles.
This was confirmed by a subsequent computed tomography.
After further investigation, the doctors concluded that the man had throat perforation.
According to the doctors, such a tear in the throat muscles occurs very rarely. The cause is usually vomiting or a strong cough.
Keeping a nose can be dangerous
With the British patient, the case turned out lightly. The 34-year-old had to be artificially fed with a tube for a week and treated with antibiotics.
Then the man was dismissed with the instruction that he would only consume soft food for the next few days and that he would never close his nose and mouth again when sneezing.
"Stopping sneezing by blocking the nostrils and mouth is a dangerous maneuver and should be avoided," said Dr. Wanding Yang from the University Hospital of Leicester, according to a report by the Canadian newspaper "Vancouver Sun".
“It can lead to numerous complications.” Among other things, this can result in perforation of the eardrum or tearing of blood vessels in the brain.
In medical literature there are also individual reports of people who have become deaf because they have covered their noses when they sneeze.
In addition, holding your nose creates pressure that pushes pathogens or dirt into the sinuses or towards the middle ear. Inflammation can occur there.
When sneezing, considerable pressure is built up
However, the case of the English patient was very unusual, according to Michael Deeg, ENT specialist in Freiburg and press spokesman for the German Professional Association of Otorhinolaryngologists.
As the doctor explained in a message from the dpa news agency, he had not encountered any comparable serious injuries in his own practice.
However, as a result of a suppressed sneeze, there would occasionally be broken veins in the eye or irritation due to overstretching of the tissue.
“When you sneeze or cough, a lot of pressure is built up. The airspeed can reach roughly hurricane strength, as decent forces work, ”said Deeg, according to dpa.
According to experts, when sneezing, small particles fly out of the nose at a speed of up to 150 kilometers per hour.
Or as a team of researchers reported in the specialist magazine "PLOS ONE": the mini droplets leave the body when sneezing as quickly as when coughing.
Trying to suppress this stimulus is very unhealthy. In extreme cases, this could lead to serious injuries like those in Great Britain. (ad)