Is it Safe to Hold in a Sneeze?

\"shutterstock_53303389\"The short answer is, “yes.” But if you need to sneeze, and you have a tissue handy and can cover your nose and mouth, then you should go ahead and let ’er rip.

While the occasional sneeze is your body’s natural response to irritants and potentially harmful bacteria, recurring sneezes may be an indicator of another health problem such as allergies or an infection. You should contact your primary care doctor if you or your child sneezes regularly, or if sneezing is present with other symptoms such as fever.

Sneezing Fiction

Over the years, sneezing has become the subject of some strange myths.

One of the biggest misconceptions about sneezing is that your heart stops when you sneeze. As a WebMD article about sneezing facts and superstitions point out, your chest contracts when you sneeze; although this briefly constricts your blood flow and may momentarily alter the rhythm of your heart, it does not cause your heart to stop beating.

A sneeze will also not cause your eyeballs to pop out. Most people, in fact, naturally shut their eyes when they sneeze. And even if you force your eyes open during a sneeze, the pressure is not enough to displace them.

The Dangers of Sneezing

Sneezing, and attempting to suppress sneezes, have been speculated to lead to a handful of injuries.

Some people have reported pulled muscles, particularly in the back or diaphragm, due to a powerful sneeze or an attempt to hold back a sneeze. Stifled sneezes have also been linked to broken blood vessels in the eyes.

Sneezes and Germs

The most dangerous thing about a sneeze is its ability to spread germs, including those that lead to the flu.

A sneeze can expel bacteria-laden particles over a span of about 3 yards, which makes sneezing as effective at spreading infections as keeping irritants out of your own body. So if you have to sneeze, go ahead, but try to cover your nose and mouth.

If you live in the greater Littleton, Colorado, area and you’re seeking a knowledgeable and compassionate primary care doctor for you and your family, please contact Dr. Andy Fine online or call 303-703-8583 today.

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