How Sneezing Can Kill You

Ever wonder how much of a health hazard sneezing could be? Apparently, there is evidence that we should never take sneezing for granted.

According to Adam Carey, there are two ways we can classify dangerous sneezing:

  1. Heavy Sneezing- A person sneezes so violently, they throw their bodies out of kilter (also known as the whiplash effect). This can cause all kinds of muscle strain and bone problems.
  2. Suppressed Sneezing- A person holds back a sneeze without letting it out. This can cause a massive build-up of pressure in our head, which can cause injuries such as a burst eardrum, tearing blood vessels and muscles in the head, damaging the sinuses and even, in rare cases, brain hemorrhages.

Dangers of heavy sneezing

Believe it or not, violent sneezes may cause:

  1. Ruptured disc in the spine

A 53-year-old mother of three reported having sneezed in the shower, only to find out later that the forceful sneeze had caused a ruptured disc in her spine. This resulted in her sciatic nerve being trapped between two vertebrae. She was under constant pain, which came to an end after she underwent pioneering surgery on her spine.

2. Eye damage, headaches, and stroke

A violent sneeze by someone who had sinus surgery can push air into the space around the eye and cause it to bulge, or push air into the brain cavity and cause an intense headache or even stroke.

Other consequences of heavy sneezing include rib fractures, facial fractures, and other damages to muscles and bones.

Dangers of suppressed sneezing

Now although it dangerous to sneeze like an elephant, by no means should you hold back that sneeze. Unfortunately, there are also dangerous consequences to suppressing a sneeze:

  1. Hearing loss and vertigo

Prior to a sneeze, a significant amount of air pressure builds in the lungs in preparation of being forced through the nasal cavity to clear irritants out of the nasal passages. If the sneeze is held in by pinching the nose or holding the mouth closed, this pressurized air is forced back through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear cavity. Forcing pressurized air the middle ear cavity can cause damage to the membranous structures in the middle ear and inner ear area, which can result in vertigo. Sometimes, the pressurized air can be so severe in the middle ear area that it can result in ruptured eardrums.

Other dangers of suppressed sneezing include diaphragm injuries, ruptured blood vessels in the eyes, and ruptured or weakened blood vessels in the brain.

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