Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Dangers of suppressing a sneeze
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Dangers of suppressing a sneeze

My wife says it is dangerous to suppress an impending sneeze, when I ward off the sneeze by putting my finger under my nose, etc. I say there is no danger in trying to ward off a sneeze, but the danger of suppressing a sneeze only applies once the sneeze has begun, and you try to "hold in" the force of air that is being expelled.  The air has to go somewhere, and this is what breaks ribs and bursts blood vessels, NOT trying to prevent the sneeze from starting.  Who is right?
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Sneezing may be beneficial to rid the body of foreign infectious or irritant substances.  On the other hand it can just be a nuisance, as with hay fever (allergic rhinitis).  If the sneeze is infrequent, there is probably a good reason for it and I would advise you to not ward it off.  You are right.  The increased pressure only develops when the sneeze has begun, not before.
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