We are getting into that time of year when many of us will be trying to choke back a cough in a meeting or refrain from sniffling on a conference call. Those are minor issues compared to the sneeze. Sneezing is a violent act of expulsion that your body uses to clean out the airways. Not only are dust, pollen, and other irritants expelled from the body but the reflex of sneezing also forces germs out of the body as well.

We all know people who have that full body sneeze. It seems as if they are winding up to throw a major league pitch with every ah-choo.  So what happens when we try to suppress the body's natural reflex? Do we run the risk of injury?

According to Live Sciene a website that discusses sneezing and other issues, most injuries that occur because of suppressed sneezes are just bad luck. However, the doctors on the website say there is a big difference between trying to stop a sneeze from starting and trying to stop one that's already happening.

Some of the more common maladies that could occur if you pinch your nose and close your throat and try to hold back that sneeze are most likely to happen around your face. You could break a blood vessel in your eye or back up the Eustachian tubes that connect the ear to the throat area. Often times this leads to a temporary loss in hearing and even vertigo.

In rare cases people have injured their diaphragm muscle or thrown out their back. These again are more of an issue of bad luck versus a likely scenario.  There have been cases reported of a blocked sneeze backing up air into the sinuses. That back up can cause the sinus to bulge into the brain area and severe headaches or strokes have been reported.

However the most likely incident you will experience as an older person by trying to hold back a sneeze is this. You might pee on yourself just a little. Incontinence is the most likely result many of us will see from trying to suppress a sneeze. To me that is reason enough to just let it fly but try to cover your mouth and nose when you do.