I don't know if that's true; I shall ask Dr Deloskey the next time I see him, although I do tend to spend most of my time in the exam room discussing what I want to die from (either rickets or scurvy; I'm not picky. I will be very old when it happens, or at least, as old as I'll ever get.)
But I have to pass this along, and that is what I read about how bad it can be for you to try to stifle a sneeze.
First off, there is a lot of energy behind your sneezes. Stuff (mucus and air) comes flying out of your nose and mouth at about 100 miles per hour, which exceeds the national Cootie Speed Limit, according to the Cleveland Clinic. And whether or not you hold in a squeeze, that horsepower is generated, and holding it in just creates big problems.
Dr. Rachel Szekely is an immunologist at Cleveland Clinic, and she says, "Occasionally, people will cause some damage to their eardrums or their sinuses if they stifle a very violent sneeze," in an post on the clinic’s website, a post that urges sneezers to let 'em fly.
It's a long way from Cleveland to Great Britain, so that's why a certain 34-year-old man living in Jolly Olde wound up in the "hospital," as hospitals are called over there. He tried to stifle a sneeze and wound up tearing some of the soft tissue in his throat.
He said it actually sounded like "Snap, crackle and pop" and he is trying to tell us all not to pinch our noses while clamping a hand over our mouths when Mean Mr Sneeze comes walking down our lane.
"This 34-year-old chap said he was always trying to hold his sneeze because he thinks it is very unhygienic to sneeze into the atmosphere or into someone’s face. That means he’s been holding his sneezes for the last 30 years or so, but this time it was different," Wanding Yang, who wrote the report for the British Medical Journal, says.
That chap felt a "popping" sensation in his neck, and then his neck began to swell, causing his voice to change.
|This X-ray shows streaks of air |
in the neck’s soft tissue,
caused by a stifled sneeze.
(British Medical Journal)
So he went to see a doctor, and was asked if he had "eaten anything sharp." No.
So into X-ray with him, and here's the nitty: that pressure, that sneezulated air, has got to exit the body somehow, and if it's not allowed to fly out of your nose and mouth, it will take a detour through the lungs and punch its way out.
The whole thing about sneezing is, it's your body's way of expelling harmful irritants in the nose, throat or lungs. In other words, it's healthy, even though it happens on the very day you're not exactly feeling aces.
TIME magazine had a piece on this very thing three years ago, and it said that doctors have seen "patients with a ruptured eardrum or pulled back muscles, and ... cracked ribs..."
And the Cleveland Clinic points out that if you don't send the irritant cooties flying out, they stay in your body, and you can get a whole new infection from that!
In other words, Doc says you will be Grumpy and not really Happy if you curtail being Sneezy. So don't be Dopey or Bashful about it.