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Is it bad to hold in a sneeze?

Sometimes it’s not polite to sneeze. On other occasions, holding in a sneeze is the right thing to do as there are kids or older people around who might pick up your germs. Being considerate is great but is it bad for your health?

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Let it out

When you focus on the sorts of accidents that occur when a sneeze is held in, you’ll be forgiven for never doing so again. Basically, bad things happen with people hold sneezes in. Some medical reports from the USA show that you can end up with fractured larynx, acute cervical pain and facial nerve injuries when you hold an achoo in. We know this sounds a little over the top but it’s medically true. If you consider how big some sneezes can be and the sort of force that can leave the body with, you’ll understand that holding it in isn’t a great idea. Doctors across the world will all tell you the same thing: sneezes aren’t supposed to be suppressed. Medics reckon that a sneeze’s function is to clear the nose of irritants and viruses so suppressing a sneeze is not a good thing assuming you’re trying to get well. It’s also the body’s way of signalling to others that you’re ill.

Still want to stop a sneeze?

If you still want to stop a sneeze, you should rub your nose as this can help stop the sneeze in a far less dramatic way. If you have pain when you sneeze, open your mouth wide when the full force of the sneeze is erupting. that's proven to limit the force which will stop the pain you might be experiencing if you've had some form of facial surgery.

Other things you can do

As most sneezing happens when we're ill with a cold or flu, using preventative measure that limit your chances of getting ill will help you. Click here for a breakdown of the foods that can help you avoid contracting the flu.

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