Sneezing is a reflux that we experience to kick ‘foreign particles’ out of our bodies. If these particles were not removed from our bodies, they would cause respiratory tract irritation. The foreign particles can be dust, allergens, viruses, and various other things. Sometimes sneezing can be induced by things that cannot be considered “foreign particles,” such as the sunlight!
People might feel embarrassed to sneeze in certain places, such as a classroom or a meeting. Therefore, many people decide to hold in the sneeze. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous. A 34-year-old British man went to the emergency room because he held in a sneeze, which caused a rupture in his throat. Although this is not very common, it does happen. Another complication from holding in a sneeze is eardrum perforation and middle ear infection. When the sneeze is held in, mucus might be pushed via the eustachian tube to the middle ear. Mucus is one of the protective mechanisms that we have in our respiratory system to trap bacteria, preventing them from entering the lungs. Usually, mucus gets pushed by specific hair-like projections in our respiratory tract so that it can be swallowed or expelled. Swallowing the mucus is not a problem because the stomach is very acidic, and most bacteria cannot live in this environment. However, if it gets to the middle ear, the bacteria might cause middle ear infection. Holding in the sneeze was also found to affect the brain’s blood circulation at its instance. Therefore, let your sneeze out!