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What's the Deal With: Sun Sneezes

What's the Deal With: Sun Sneezes

When I was younger, I had a friend who thought she was allergic to the sun because every time she stepped outside she sneezed. In fact, she taught me the trick of looking toward the sun, but never directly at it, to bring on a shy sneeze.

If you are not a sun sneezer, you might be surprised to know that this phenomenon has been recognized for over 40 years by the medical community, and they even gave it a scientific sounding name: photic sneezing reflex.

Sun sneezers are in the minority since the reflex only occurs in one out of four people. Studies suggest that it might be a dominant trait we inherit from our parents. It is believed that crossed neural pathways between the eyes and the nose, mouth, and chest cause sun sneezing. Bright light should make the pupils constrict, but for the photic sensitive, it does so much more! Tell me, are you a sun sneezer?

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Join The Conversation
CatherinasTutus CatherinasTutus 6 years
I'm a sun sneezer! :) I always thought it was weird!
nancita nancita 8 years
Sun sneezer here! Very helpful and interesting post. I always said I'm allergic to the sun too, even tho I knew that wasn't right.
misskacie misskacie 8 years
I have this, too! Most people don't believe me, even my husband is only recently convinced.
snapperdoodle snapperdoodle 8 years
Yes! My dad does it, too, so I guess that's where I get it from.
Merlin713 Merlin713 8 years
This is me. It's annoying.
AZDaisy AZDaisy 8 years
My mom and I are also sun sneezers! I used to joke that I was allergic to the sun too. It's kind of convenient...you know when you feel a sneeze coming but it just won't come out? Then the sun or any kind of light is my best buddy :)
mudnessa mudnessa 8 years
I am a sun sneezer and like 1apple I also always sneeze to strong mint specifically when I eat a altoid, the original mint ones, they are so strong they make me sneeze.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I'm a sun sneezer too. Bright light sneezer. Basically I can bring on the sneeze just by looking up. :)
1apple 1apple 8 years
I admit it - I'm a sun sneezer! I am also a minty gum sneezer!
wednesday_adams wednesday_adams 8 years
My hubby is a sun sneezer, puts on his sunglasses the minute he steps out the door.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
I'm totally a sun sneezer. And btw, you can look at light bulbs to initiate a sneeze too!
shoegirl365 shoegirl365 8 years
sorry grammer mistake: "I, like a moron, am busy sneazing".
shoegirl365 shoegirl365 8 years
OmG me too!!! I always sneaze when I step outside after being indoors a long time. I think it is kinda annoying as there are always people around me and I like a moron is busy sneazing. I am so glad I am not alone.
Bikgrl Bikgrl 8 years
Ditto! Sun and bright lights can bring on a sneeze.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I am a sun sneezer! All I have to do is get a bright light in my eyes and I sneeze once. I sneeze twice/three times all other times but just the once for sunlight. =) My dad is the same.
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