There is a Hebrew legend which says that before the days of Jacob no man sneezed more than once— the effort cost him his life. Jacob invoked the blessing of God and survived an attack, and since his time it has been customary for persons, in the presence of one sneezing, to utter a "Praise God!" "Gesundheit!" or other significant exclamation, lest the phenomenon result fatally. That sneezing may not, in all cases, be the harmless action it is commonly believed to be, the following case will serve to illustrate:
Mr. M., aged 72 years, remarkably vigorous and healthy for his years, summoned me hastily for relief of severe pain in his right side, which had commenced suddenly after sneezing with unusual force. I found him standing, supported by a chair; his face pale, his breathing difficult and provoking cries, with pain in the lower part of the right side.