Man Ruptures Throat By Holding A Sneeze

Man Ruptures Throat
The black arrow points to the air streaks (in black) in the soft tissue area

Man ruptures his throat after holding his nose and covering his mouth while sneezing.

What happens if you clamp your mouth and nose shut while sneezing? Doctors warn that it can lead to serious physical damage. In a similar scenario, a 34-year-old man from Leicester presented to the emergency with a ruptured throat because of trying to hold a sneeze. This article highlights the case of a man who ruptures his throat because of holding a sneeze.

How does something as harmless as holding a sneeze cause the throat to rupture?

When you cover your nose and mouth while sneezing, the air has nowhere to escape. Therefore, the pressure rips through the soft tissue, causing tissue damage. Although it is quite rare of a phenomenon, it can be quite dangerous and cause a spontaneous perforation of the pharynx. A delayed diagnosis and intervention can result in potential complications. The 34-year-old said he felt a “popping” sensation in his neck, immediately followed by pain and difficulty swallowing and speaking after his attempt to hold a sneeze. Examination revealed tenderness and swelling around his throat and neck.

For further evaluation, doctors advised an X-ray which was remarkable of air escaping from the the windpipe through the rupture into the soft tissues of his neck. The man had to be fed by a tube for the next few days to allow the tissues to heal. He was sent home after spending a week at the hospital. He had an uneventful recovery period.

According to the doctors at the ENT department at the Leicester Royal Infirmary,

“Halting a sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided.”

In addition,

It may lead to numerous complications, such as pneumomediastinum [air trapped in the chest between both lungs], perforation of the tympanic membrane [perforated eardrum], and even rupture of a cerebral aneurysm [ballooning blood vessel in the brain],”

Sneezing can spread diseases. Thus, although it is good to let them out, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, it is important to encourage children and adults to cover their mouths with a tissue while coughing and sneezing. Throw the tissues away in a bin and wash your hands to prevent the spread of infection.


Snap, crackle and pop: when sneezing leads to crackling in the neck

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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