Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Is Holding In A Sneeze Bad For You?



Short answer

Years of research shows holding a sneeze is not a good idea. Though serious injuries from holding in a sneeze are rare, they can still happen. Let your sneeze out - it's not worth the risk.



Long answer

Sneezing helps you keep your body safe. It is an important part of the immune process, helping to keep our bodies healthy. Sneezing protects our body by clearing the nose of any harmful bacteria and viruses. When something foreign enters your nose or you encounter a trigger that sets off your ‘sneeze centre’ in the brain, which is located in the lower brain stem, signals will rapidly send to tightly close your throat, eyes, and mouth.

Then, your chest muscles will vigorously contract, causing your throat muscles to quickly relax. This will create air – along with saliva and mucus – to be forced out of your mouth and nose. Hence, causing a sneeze!

Prior to a sneeze, a great amount of air pressure will build in the lungs in order to prepare being forced through the nasal cavity to clear any irritants out of the nasal passages. If you hold the sneeze in by pinching the nose or simply closing the mouth, the pressurized air is going to be forced back through the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear cavity. The pressure from a sneeze is capable of causing middle ear and inner ear damage, also including a ruptured ear drum. Though the risk of a hearing loss is pretty low, it is still possible.

Blocked sneezes can also lead to injury of the diaphragm, a broken blood vessel in the eye, and even a ruptured blood vessel in the brain due to the quick and extreme increase of blood pressure while holding it in. Although many people have held in countless sneezes in their life without experiencing any complications, a few get unlucky and experience these lethal side effects.

Bottom Line: It's not worth the risk - release the sneeze!

Possible short-term side effects

  • throat pain
  • vertigo
  • ruptured ear drum
  • hearing loss
  • ruptured blood vessel in eye
  • ruptured blood vessel in brain

Big is holding in a sneeze bad for you.


  • stop from spreading germs
  • stop from the loud noise

Healthier alternatives

  • let it out!

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Written by Healthy Living 35 | 12-28-2015

Written by Healthy Living 35
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