Man, 34, spends week in hospital barely able to speak and swallow after stifling a sneeze

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A warning has been issued after a man was hospitalised having tried to contain a sneeze.

The man (34), described as previously fit and well, spent a week in hospital and was left barely able to speak or swallow after suffering a spontaneous perforation of the pharynx.

Specialists said the “unusual condition” was most often caused by trauma or sometimes by vomiting, retching or heavy coughing.

The man told them he had developed a popping sensation in his neck which immediately swelled up after he tried to contain a forceful sneeze by pinching his nose and keeping his mouth clamped shut. He then found it extremely painful to swallow and could barely speak.

The patient was admitted to hospital where he was fed by a tube and given intravenous antibiotics until the swelling and pain had subsided.

While holding your nose and closing your mouth while you sneeze might seem a harmless thing to do, doctors have advised against it.

Ear, nose and throat specialists at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said trying to contain a forceful sneeze in such a way is not a good idea as it could lead to “numerous complications”.