Can the sun make you sneeze and what causes it?

When the Sun makes you sneeze, it’s called a photic sneeze reflex, and it occurs in about a quarter of the population.

What happens to convince your nose that the sun is an object that must be sneezed out of your nasal cavities? It’s simply a case of crossed wires, like hearing interference on your phone line from someone else’s conversation.

There are so many nerves running through your facial and nasal cavities that some of them end up right next to one another. Stepping into bright light sends rapid signals through your optical nerves to your brain so that it can instruct your pupils to dilate and your lids to squint in response.

Some of these optic nerves butt up against the nasal nerves and trigger a wildly inappropriate response—a sneeze.

Do you cough or choke while cleaning your ears? A similar signal-crossing scenario may be taking place.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “Can the sun make you sneeze and what causes it?”

  1. I hate it when I feel I am going to sneeze, and then can’t! So if a sneeze fails to materialise, I make myself sneeze by looking at any source of light.

    I certainly don’t look at the Sun. That would fry my eyeballs, and I’m sure no normal person would need t an explanation for that!

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