Why you shouldn't hold in your sneezes - KMSP-TV

Why you shouldn't hold in your sneezes

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Photo: Cleveland Clinic Photo: Cleveland Clinic
(WJBK) - It's allergy season so many of us are sneezing a little more these days. If you feel the urge to stifle the sneeze, one doctor says - don't.
 
Cleveland Clinic allergy doctor Rachel Szekely says you can do damage to your body if you stifle a sneeze.

"Occasionally, people will cause some damage to their eardrums, maybe their sinuses, if they stifle a very violent sneeze," she says.

Dr. Szekely says sneezing is a protective mechanism. She says if you have to sneeze, it means something has gotten into your nose that your body wants to keep from getting to your sinuses or lungs.

So, your body tries to sneeze it out, which can be forceful.

In fact, droplets may travel at a rate of 100 miles per hour, which is why stifling a sneeze could potentially cause damage, including an ear infection.

"Your nose connects to your eustachian tube, which connects to your middle-ear and, so, you could also push things through the eustachian tube and back into the middle ear [such as] mucus that's infected, and you can get middle ear infections because of that," says Dr. Szekely.   

If you're worried about letting a sneeze go at an inopportune time or inappropriate place, just remember etiquette says sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.

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