It might seem to be a harmless act of courtesy to stop your sneeze by pinching the nose in the middle of a meeting or somewhere quiet, but doctors reveal that it could turn into something fatal.
In fact, recently, a man in Britain learnt the lesson a hard way -- by blasting a hole through the back of his throat.
The 34-year-old man was taken to a hospital because he was experiencing excruciating pain after he held his nose and closed his mouth in an attempt to stop his sneeze. After the incident, he was barely able to speak or swallow, Daily Mail reported.
He remained in the hospital for a week and was fed through a tube. Though he survived it, doctors wrote in the journal BMJ Case Reports that the outcome could have been far worse and that it could even kill a person.
"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," case report author Dr Wanding Yang told CNN.
He reportedly felt a 'popping sensation' in his neck and some swelling there after trying to halt a sneeze. When doctors examined the man, they heard crackling sounds from his neck to all the way down to his ribcage – hinting that air bubbles found their way into the deep tissue and muscles of his chest. After a CT scan, it was confirmed that the back of his throat – called the pharynx – had ruptured.
The specialists from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust wrote: "Halting a sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided, as it may lead to numerous complications such as pneumomediastinum [air trapped in the chest between the lungs], perforation of tympanic membrane [perforated eardrum] and even rupture of a cerebral aneurysm [potentially fatal bursting blood vessels in the brain]."
The man was discharged after seven days, with the advice to not to try and stop his sneeze forcefully in future.