Sneezing is an odd, useful way for the body to remove irritants. Anyone with allergies or a cold in vogue will also feel the incredible frustration over serial sneezing. Big sneezes are enough to shock our neighbours and disrupt any quiet once gathered. Bigger sneezes can rupture your throat.

The sneeze that broke

Recently, a man in his thirties ruptured his throat after suppressing a sneeze. He attempted to stop a sneeze by pinching his nose and closing his mouth. After having pain and swelling in his neck a few hours later, he decided to visit the hospital. It was a good call since he was then admitted to the hospital and had to use antibiotics and a feeding tube for a week before being cleared to go home.

By confining the sneeze to his mouth, he had actually blown a hole in his throat.

5 fun sneezing facts

  1. Sneezes can travel at 100 miles/hour (and for more sensible, metric friends, that translates to 161 kilometres/hour).
  2. Some people sneeze as a response to seeing light. This is a genetic condition known as the ‘photic sneeze reflex’ and is estimated to affect 18 to 35% of the population.
  3. The bacteria expelled from sneezes can hang out in the air for 45 minutes, alive and well to hitch a ride on unsuspecting hosts.
  4. Droplets from a sneeze can travel up to 26 feet, or 8 metres, away; yes, bacteria ride those droplets.
  5. “Gesundheit” is sometimes quirkily said to someone who just sneezed. It translates to “health” in German and is a cheer offered to encourage good health in case the sneeze signals a looming cold. A hearty “Gesundheit” might not ward off a cold, but can induce a giggle to soothe strained nerves.


Let the sneezes fly free, but sneeze responsibly. Sneeze into your upper sleeve or away from respectable company, and not within 8 metres of me.


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