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“Suppressing your sneeze is not a good idea”


“Suppressing your sneeze is definitely not a good idea,” warns Hylke van der Toom, ENT doctor Sint-Augustine Hospital Antwerp, in ‘The World Today’. “A sneeze is a reflex that arises from a stimulus in the nose. The stimulus sends a signal to the brain stem, which then controls the body parts that come into action when sneezing. That happens automatically, you have no control over it.”

“You have to regard the nose as the gatekeeper of the body,” explains van der Toom. “The nose filters, heats and humidifies the air you breathe. That air contains all kinds of substances that can irritate, such as pollen or perfume. Sneezing has a protective function, because when sneezing the substances, which are sometimes dangerous, are released from the “Nose blown. This way they can’t penetrate further into the body. Sneezing can also be accompanied by a lot of force. The dusts sometimes fly out of the nose at speeds of 160 kilometers per hour.”

Sneezing has a protective function, because when sneezing, substances, which are sometimes dangerous, are blown out of the nose.

Precisely because sneezing involves so much force, it is not a good idea, according to van der Toom, to suppress a sneeze. “If you close your mouth convulsively and pinch your nose, the air that leaves your body when you sneeze has nowhere to go. If you then have a weak spot in your skull, for example between your nose and your eye socket or between your nose and your brain, there is a chance that the air pressure in your head will cause a hole.It happens very rarely.But there have been cases of people who have become blind in one eye, have suffered a brain haemorrhage, or have a damaged eardrum. ”

Mouth caps and sneezing in your elbow

Sneezing can indeed spread virus particles. That is also the reason why we have to wear mouth caps in times of corona. “They are very effective”, confirms van der Toom. “Just like the tip to sneeze in your elbow. Since corona measures have been taken, we have seen much fewer people in hospital with colds or respiratory infections. It proves that mouth caps and sneezing in your elbow help to prevent infections.”

Listen to the conversation with Hylke van der Toom in ‘The World Today’ via Radio 1 Select

Source: vrtnws.be and ‘The World Today’

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