www.whyville.net Feb 28, 2007 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Holding in a Sneeze: Good or Bad?

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It's that time of year again! Colds are being spread like rapidfire. One major symptom of a cold is sneezing! When I don't have a kleenex around, I usually like to try and hold it in, or snot may get everywhere; that's just gross. But, what if it's a bad thing?

Before I debate on whether it is or not, let's have a history lesson!

Sneezing is a very common thing; everyone sneezes. Whether you have allergies, a cold, or something tickled your nose -- you sneeze.

Sneezing gets rid of irritation( when you have a cold, a virus causes swelling and irritation inside your nose). When the inside of your nose tickles, a message is sent to your brain and your muscles to create a sneeze.

Okay, so what's all of the gross mucus for?

Mucus is produced by glands in the mucous membrane. It traps particles like dust and bacteria. When you sneeze, the dust and bacteria come out, so that means the mucus goes along with it. Here's a gross fact for you: Mucus dries around a particle and hardens; we call that a booger.

The history lesson is done, so let's get back to the real question: Is holding a sneeze in good or bad?

The Birmingham Health System states, "If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture blood vessel in your head or neck and die. If you keep your eyes open by force (while you sneeze), they will pop out. Suppressing a sneeze can be harmful, particularly to your ears."

I learned that if you hold in a sneeze while pinching your nose, while it relieves the pain in your ears, "it briefly blocks the blood flow to your heart".

If you are currently having the sniffles, or whenever you do, it would be wise to not suppress a sneeze and to have kleenexes on hand.



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