Sneezing is the body’s way of cleaning out things that shouldn’t be in the nose. Here’s what happens to those “things” if the sneeze is held back.
A sneeze does for the nose what a cough does for the lungs. Sneezes clear out all the gunk that shouldn’t be in the nasal and sinus passages, things like pollutants, allergens, germs and viruses. Sneezing is good for you and holding a sneeze back is bad.
When a sneeze is held back, it causes a rapid, intense buildup of pressure in the head which can propel germs and viruses deep into the ear canals, causing ear infection. The intense pressure buildup caused from holding back a sneeze can also damage the delicate membranes of the inner ear.
During those moments when it would be socially unacceptable or embarrassing to sneeze, don’t hold the sneeze back, but rather try to stop the sneeze before the forceful pressure builds up with this trick – when the nasal tickling sensation starts and you know a sneeze is on it’s way, pinch the top of the nose, right where the bone meets the cartilage. If that does not stop the sneeze, don’t attempt to hold the sneeze back, let it loose into a kleenez or bend the arm and sneeze into the crook.