Doctors have warned against clamping the nose and mouth shut to stifle a sneeze, saying it can cause serious physical damage.


The doctors warned of dangers of this method of sneezing in science journal BMJ Case Reports.

A 34-year-old man in Leicester reportedly ruptured his throat while trying to stop a high-force sneeze. The pressure of the sneeze was said to have ripped through the soft tissue.

He was rushed to the hospital after he felt a “popping” sensation in his neck when it happened. He also experienced pain and difficulty swallowing and speaking.


When the doctors checked him, they found he had swelling and tenderness around his throat and neck.

An X-ray further revealed air escaping from his windpipe into the soft tissue of his neck through the rupture. He had to be fed by a tube for the next seven days to allow time for the tissues to heal.

The man was sent home after spending a week in the hospital.


Doctors said although rare and unusual, trapping a sneeze could also damage the ears or even rupture a brain aneurysm and others should be aware of the danger.

“Halting a sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided,” said doctors from the ear, nose, throat department at Leicester Royal Infirmary, where the man was treated.

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