Holding your nose when you sneeze
It might seem like bad manners to let a huge sneeze go, but consider this case reported in the medical journal The BMJ: A man tore his pharynx (part of his throat) by pinching his nose closed during a sneeze. “If a sneeze is held in, the pressure is still generated but not released,” says Sanchayeeta Mitra, MD, PIH health otolaryngologist, ENT. “When that happens, the pressure can back up, either into the sinuses or the back of the nose, through the mouth and throat or the chest.” As the pressure travels through the nasal passages to the ears, it can lead to eardrum or inner ear damage. “Having the pressure back up can also cause other injuries with ruptured blood vessels in any area such as the chest, throat, eyes, or brain,” she says. “None of these injuries are that common, but generally, it is better to grab a Kleenex or turn your face into your shoulder and just let the sneeze out.”
Putting your purse on the table
When you come home, you probably plop your purse right down on the kitchen table or counter—but in doing so, you could be spreading germs around your eating and food prep surfaces. “The bottoms of purses are notorious for picking up germs and bacteria from the different places that they are set down,” says Jennifer Caudle, DO, family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. One study found that handbags can harbor more bacteria than a toilet seat. “Placing a purse on the table allows for these bacteria to potentially end up there—which might be where you work, eat, or your kids play!” Dr. Caudle says. Here are more icky habits that put your health at risk.