Sneeze Case Study

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Although it would be exceedingly rare to suffer the consequences of halting a sneeze, nevertheless, the possibility exists. Other than suffering spontaneous perforation of the pyriform sinus, holding a sneeze has other complications.

The authors of a case report, published on Monday in BMJ, said that holding a sneeze may lead to complications such as pneumomedistinum, perforation of tympanic membrane, and rupture of a cerebral aneurysm, Mashable reported. They noted that halting sneeze by blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous maneuver and must be avoided.

Feeding tube for 7 days

After he ripped a hole in his throat when he held back a sneeze, the British 34-year-old male patient had to be confined in a hospital and placed on a feeding
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William Portnoy, an otolaryngologist, said that the force of a powerful sneeze can, at times, lead to complications. He explained that the pyriform sinus is a sort of pocket which goes alongside the voice box. It does not have a muscle to reinforce it because, basically, it is just a loose mucus membrane.

He compared it to blowing up a balloon. If the blower places too much force into it, the balloon can burst. The result is the saliva and air will enter the body where it does not belong and could cause serious complications. The authors from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said that after they examined the patient, they heard popping and crackling sounds that extended from the man’s neck to his rib cage.

It is a sign that air bubbles have found their way into the tissue and muscles of the patient’s chest. Dr. Douglas Chepeha, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at the University Health Network in Toronto, described the tear in the man’s throat as
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Chepeda noted that a suppressed sneeze could also build up a pressure in the middle ear. But he said busting an eardrum that way is very rare. It could also rupture an undetected aneurysm or ballooning blood vessel in the brain.

Another risk is it could cause the small surface blood vessels in the eyes and other areas of the head and neck to burst because of built-up pressure.

The unidentified man is not the first to suffer an injury because of holding a sneeze. Dr. Eric Monteiro, an ENT at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said that there was a report previously of elderly women who developed brittle bones in osteoporosis and developed vertebral compression fractures because of sneezing.

Kevin Pillar, a Toronto Blue Jay player and some major league baseball players have also been injured by sneezing. Pillar was placed on a 10-day disabled list when he sneezed which caused an oblique muscle strain during the 2015 pre-season.

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