It is flu season and a nasty one at that! With the flu comes those dreaded germs and plenty of sneezing. Many of us have tried hold them in and you might have heard doing so is dangerous.

There's a report catching fire on social media about a 34-year-old man who pinched his nose shut, held in his sneeze, and ended up blowing a hole in his throat.

QUESTION

Can you blow a hole in your throat by holding in a sneeze?

SOURCES

BMJ Case Reports

David Wein - Tampa General Hospital

WHAT WE FOUND

BMJ Case Reports is a legitimate journal for healthcare workers and researchers. The story about the sad sneezer uses lots of clinical language -- with X-rays that show what happened. The research and story boils down to this: when the man held in his sneeze, he felt a pop and his neck swelled up.

Doctors told him the force of that suppressed sneeze ruptured his pharynx, which is the cavity directly behind the mouth. It sent air bubbles into his neck.

Doctors put the man on a feeding tube and gave him antibiotics. It took several weeks for him to heal.

"Hard coughing, yeah, there's a lot -- not like a giant hole -- like enough that you kind of have a micro perforation, and you get some air, some subcutaneous air through here," Wein said.

ANSWER

It doesn't happen often, but, yes, you can do damage to your throat by holding in a sneeze. It's why doctors always recommend, when you feel a sneeze coming on, just let it happen.

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