Sneeze away. (Into a tissue or elbow, of course!)

Meghan Overdeep
January 16, 2018

When it doubt, let it out.

There’s nothing more frustrating than an inopportune sneeze, but according to British doctors, you might want to think twice before you stifle your next big one.

A new article published by BMJ Case Reports details the saga of a 34-year-old man who experienced alarming side effects after attempting to halt a sneeze. The patient, who University Hospitals of Leicester noted was otherwise in good health, arrived at the emergency room with a ruptured throat after a particularly forceful sneeze.

“He described a popping sensation in his neck and some bilateral neck swelling after he tried to halt a sneeze by pinching the nose and holding his mouth closed,” Dr. Wanding Yang wrote in the report.

During his examination, doctors heard popping and crackling sounds coming from his neck and chest, which suggested that air bubbles had leaked into the deep tissue and muscles in the area. CT scans confirmed their diagnosis, and the man was admitted to the hospital, given IV antibiotics and fed through a tube while his condition resolved.

While doctors noted that kind of injury is rarely associated with sneezing, there have been reports of people rupturing the backs of their throats while vomiting or coughing violently. Their conclusion? “Simultaneously obstructing both nostrils and mouth during sneezing should be avoided.”

Done and done! Just make sure the next time you unleash a sneeze it’s into a tissue or the crook of your elbow.