Next time you feel that sensation of a sneeze coming on, maybe just grab a tissue and let it out! Loud and disgusting if you have to. The alternative of stifling your sneeze is an extremely dangerous habit!
As one unlucky 34 year old in England found out who ruptured his throat when holding in a sneeze. He ended up in the emergency room barely able to speak and unable to swallow due to holding his nose and closing his mouth during a sneeze. This well-known habit happens in offices around the world when you feel it would be too embarrassing to sneeze outright. Well, do not do it!
The man reported that when he did it he felt a cracking feeling in his neck, afterward he was in a hefty amount of pain and his neck began to swell up. Upon examination, doctors found that when you touched his neck it would make a cracking noise. No, he had not become a music box, this is a condition known as crepitus and means that air bubbles were trapped under the tissue layer of his skin.
A CT scan confirmed that this was indeed the case, there were air bubbles trapped mostly in the neck region which you can see in the image above. Basically, the man’s sneeze was so powerful it had turned a hole in the bottom of his throat(the pharynx.) so he had to be hospitalized for seven whole days and fed through a tube.
All this because of trying to hold in a sneeze? Next time think twice!
Normally you need to be subject to a trauma to your neck to tear your pharynx. Yet on rare occasions, it does appear to tear when people vomit, cough or as it seems to have a big sneeze. Time to make sure we always have travel tissues.