You might have learned in elementary school that when you sneeze, you should cover your mouth to avoid spreading germs. But it’s possible that no one ever told you what would happen if you kept the sneeze in. It turns out, the simple habit of holding in a sneeze can wreak havoc beyond belief on your body!
According to The Cleveland Clinic, sneezing can send mucus flying at a rate of up to 100 mph. Picture that for a second, and you’ll get an idea of the power a sneeze carries. So, when you stifle it, what happens?
What can trigger a sneeze 1:03
Can you sneeze with your eyes open? 1:40
What happens when you stifle a sneeze 2:26
How to sneeze correctly 4:43
How you can make yourself sneeze in advance 6:18
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– There are a lot of strong, irritating substances that can trigger a sneeze. It can be those pesky allergies that have your nose running every spring, being exposed to smoke, getting a sniff of a potent perfume, or getting dust mites up your nose while cleaning your house.
– According to David Huston, MD, associate dean of Texas A&M College of Medicine, some people can definitely sneeze with their eyes open. And open-eye sneezing won’t make your eyeballs pop out!
– According to a case study published by the British Medical Journal, a 34-year-old man from the United Kingdom tried to stifle a sneeze, and the force from it tore through the soft tissue in his throat.
– For the man in the UK, the stifled sneeze damaged his pharynx and formed air bubbles in his neck. This condition is called crepitus, and it damaged his neck’s soft tissue.
– When you try to stifle a forceful sneeze, you can cause damage to your pharynx and neck, lose your voice, and have difficulty swallowing (or become completely unable to swallow). In addition, you can damage your eardrums and sinuses.
– So if you are a carrier, be a good neighbor by following proper sneezing etiquette. The CDC recommends that you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when a sneeze comes. Make sure you discard the tissue after one use.
– Even if you use a tissue, always wash your hands afterward. Don’t just do a quick rinse! Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
– For some people, genetics can play a role and help them sneeze when they look at a bright light. If you don’t know if you can do this, give it a try next time you feel a sneeze is coming!
– Another way is if you have a tissue, simply wiggle it right under your nose, just close enough that the tissue’s tip stimulates the hairs inside your nose.
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