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Is it dangerous to hold in a sneeze?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
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.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.