In a shocking medical case, doctors have revealed a man who ended up blasting a hole through the back of his head.
The 34-year-old unnamed patient was taken to the emergency in excruciating pain and barely able to speak or swallow after he held his nose and closed his mouth in a failed bid to stifle a sneeze.
The man had to be kept in hospital for a week and had to be fed through a tube.
According to doctors who wrote in the journal BMJ Case Reports the outcome could have been far worse – the explosive internal forces caused by holding your nose while sneezing can kill you.
The specialists, from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, wrote that halting a sneeze via blocking nostrils and mouth is a dangerous manoeuvre and should be avoided, as it may lead to numerous complications such as pneumomediastinum [air trapped in the chest between the lungs], perforation of tympanic membrane [perforated eardrum] and even rupture of cerebral aneurysm [potentially fatal bursting blood vessels in the brain].
According to them, the patient, who had previously been fit and well, arrived at A&E complaining he was finding it extremely painful to swallow and his voice had changed after he tried to smother a forceful sneeze – in which air can travel at speeds of 100mph or more.
They added that the patient described a popping sensation in his neck and some neck swelling after he tried to halt a sneeze by pinching the nose and holding his mouth closed.’
When doctors examined him they heard crackling sounds which extended from his neck all the way down to his ribcage – a sign that air bubbles had found their way into the deep tissue and muscles of his chest.
An urgent CT scan later, it was confirmed that the back of his throat – called the pharynx – had ruptured.
The man was admitted to hospital, where he was fed via a tube and given intravenous antibiotics until the swelling and pain had subsided.
After seven days he was well enough to be discharged – with the advice not to block his nostrils when sneezing in future.