Sneezing at the Sun: A Real Thing

Written by Christopher Null on June 6th, 2012

I sometimes sneeze in bright daylight. Now I know I’m not alone.

Not only is there a genetic basis for “sun sneezing,” Pagon says the number of times people sneeze in response to light also appears to run in families.

This scientific discovery happened in a very unscientific way. Pagon and her genetics colleagues were sitting at the same table during a birth defects conference when the conversation shifted to discussing the sun and sneezing. Much to their surprise, they learned that 4 out of 10 of them were affected by this strange reaction. “One person said it was common for people in his family to sneeze five times; in my family it was three times, and another person said once,” recalls Pagon.

But what about the sun making me break down in tears and curl up on the sidewalk?


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