Man's throat ruptured after holding his nose during forceful sneeze

Never do this

The young man explained that he had developed a popping sensation in his neck which immediately swelled up after he tried to contain a forceful sneeze by pinching his nose and keeping his mouth clamped shut at the same time.

This case was published in the BMJ today, and it is understood that the man had trouble swallowing, was in extreme pain and unable to swallow. He also was losing his voice.

While examining him, doctors could hear popping and cracking sounds - called "crepitus" - that extended from his neck to his ribcage. This was confirmed with an emergency computed tomography (CT). Anxious about infection and other possible complications, they admitted him to the hospital, gave him a feeding tube and administered antibiotics, according to details published in BMJ Case Reports.

The patient was well enough to leave the hospital after seven days.

The authros caution: "Halting sneezing via blocking [the] nostrils and mouth is a risky manoeuvre, and should be avoided".

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While incidents like these are rare, they're not unheard of, Dr. Jennifer Anderson, otolaryngologist at St. Michael's Hospital, says.

"They transmitted the force of the sneeze up their nose, through the eustachian tube and up into their middle ear", he said. But there have been cases caused by someone coughing, vomiting and, yes, sneezing, thanks to a "sudden rise in intraluminal (intraluminal meaning the inside of a bodily tube) pressure against closed vocal folds". "There was one time where [the patient] got meningitis and we had to go in and fix the leak".

When it comes to sneezing, something's gotta give - as one man learned after his attempt to hold in a sneeze led to a ruptured throat. The scan also showed air bubbles in the chest compartment between the lungs - a condition known as pneumomediastinum. Doctors recommend letting sneezes rip into a tissue instead. After major health events like SARS, many of us have been taught to sneeze into our sleeves or limit our sneezing.

Apart from the pain, the injury left the man at risk of complications such as deep neck infection.

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