Why Does the Sun Cause Me to Sneeze?
Achoo! Here our expert explains why the sun causes some people to sneeze (sometimes repeatedly), even in the dead of winter.
Here comes the (achoo!) sun. Imagine stepping outside on a bright summer day only to sneeze over and over again.
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Actually, some people do it every time they see the sun, even in the dead of winter. Most sneeze several times in a row before it stops.
Why would someone sneeze at the sun?
“Sneezing is a naso-expulsive response. The sneeze is to the nose what a cough is to the lung,” explains Allergy and Immunology Chairman David Lang, MD. “Solar sneezes are an exaggerated response that occurs with exposure to the light of the sun.”
It all starts with crossed wires involving the trigeminal nerve, a facial nerve that innervates the eye and nose. When a bright light hits the eyes, the pupils constrict and ACHOO! It can happen on initial exposure to the sun.