In the midst of flu season, we should stop the urge to hold in our sneezes, lest we risk a rare but serious injury.With cases of flu continuing to rise, there’s likely a whole lot of “achooing” going on across the country. But ear, nose and throat doctors advise against trying to stifle those sneezes, as such suppression can in rare cases lead to injuries.

A 34-year-old man from the U.K. ruptured his throat after pinching his nose and clamping his mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze. The trauma left the man in pain and barely able to speak or swallow.

There are a number of other injuries that could occur from trying to block a sneeze.

Impeding the release of air from the nose and mouth during a sneeze could rapidly increase the pressure in the lungs, forcing the air out and trapping it in the chest between the lungs — a condition known as pseudomediastinum.

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