Stifled sneezes lead to tracheal tear in rare case

Doctors say pressure in the upper airways while sneezing can increase 20-fold if the mouth and nose are closed.

A Scottish man who pinched his nose to stifle a sneeze while driving has become the first reported case of spontaneous tracheal perforation from sneezing, doctors report.

The University of Dundee–led team says the case serves as a reminder of the potentially catastrophic consequences of holding in one’s sneeze given the rapid build-up of pressure involved.