Science Questions

Can stifling a sneeze do you damage?

Sun, 18th May 2008

Part of the show Your Bacterial Body


Damien Kukuza, Australia asked:

I have heard the when people sneeze it travels out of around 100ks per hour. Some people hold their sneeze in by either closing the mouth and nose or it just doesn't get let out. My question: Can this cause a brain aneurysm or any harm to the body when the sneeze is stopped in this manner.


Thereís no connection between the bit of the respiratory tree that the sneeze has to rush out at 100kph at your brain.  I think if you donít let the sneeze out thereís a possibility you could end up with the mucus itís trying to dislodge being rammed further into the passages inside the nose, the sinuses for example.  You could actually encourage the build-up of mucus which could be laden with infection.  You could encourage infection so itís probably better to let it out. 

Thereís nothing better than a sneeze, is there?


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