Question

Nose Disorders

Is it dangerous to hold in a sneeze?

A Answers (1)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Holding in a sneeze is like holding down the top of a jack-in-the-box. Why not just let it out? The air expelled by sneezes is said to travel up to 100 miles per hour; holding in a sneeze could cause fractures in the nasal cartilage, nosebleeds, burst eardrums, hearing loss, vertigo or detached retinas. Therefore it is best to let your sneeze fly (yet shielded by a hankie, preferably).

    Plus, your body is trying to clear out your pharynx-and that's a good thing. To help the sneeze come out, look at a bright light. This stimulates the optic nerve, which crosses wires with the sneeze center. The added irritation of an adjacent nerve will get the sneeze going.
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