A new medical study is nothing to sneeze at, but may convince you to go ahead and sneeze.
One 34-year-old man ruptured his throat by closing his mouth and pinching his nose when the urge to sneeze came over him, according to a case study in the British Medical Journal published Monday.
The man featured in the report titled “Snap, crackle and pop” went to his doctor with odynophagia, or pain swallowing, and a change in voice after he stifled his body’s natural impulse.
He reported a “popping” sensation in his neck, and tests by doctors including lead author Wangding Yang showed pockets of air underneath the skin that suggested a tear in his pharynx, part of the throat between the mouth and esophagus.
The man was admitted to the hospital for risk of serious infection and fed with a tube, and was only discharged a week later after the air pockets went away.
Arrows point to pockets of air believed to have come from a tear in a patient’s throat.
Yang wrote that a “spontaneous” rupture of the throat is exceedingly rare, and that physicians should proceed with suspicion when looking into such cases.
However, the man was told not to cover his nose and mouth while sneezing, and the study says that doing so is “a dangerous maneuver and should be avoided.”
Sneezes, which expel dirt, germs and other debris from the nose, can reach 100 mph, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Potential harms that could come of muffling an unexpected excretion from a personal face cannon include a brain aneurysm rupture, the BMJ study said.