Why Does Looking At The Sun Make You Sneeze?
When I first heard that looking at the sun makes you sneeze, I didn’t believe it. But then I realized that this is a phenomenon experienced by many. Not for everyone, but for some people, looking at the sun actually causes sneezing. So why?
This phenomenon has a scientific name. This; This is called the photic sneeze reflex. The involuntary response to visual stimuli is called the photic reflex, and the most common form is the photic sneeze reflex. It occurs as a result of looking at a bright light such as fluorescent light and sunlight.
Although the exact cause of this phenomenon is not known, many ideas have been suggested since ancient times. For example, Aristotle suggested that the heat of the sun increases the sweating in the nose and accordingly the irritation, and that is why sneezing occurs.
Francis Bacon, on the other hand, objects to Aristotle’s view. It would not be difficult to justify his objection. He stands in the sun with a patch over his eyes and does not sneeze. Thus, it reveals the relationship of the underlying cause of the phenomenon with vision. According to him, looking at bright sunlight causes tears in the eyes and the tears in the eyes leak into the nose and cause irritation of the nose. Irritation in the nose also causes the sneezing reflex.
This hypothesis of Bacon was accepted in scientific circles for a long time. However, it was later realized that the time between looking at the sun and the appearance of sneezing was very short. The time required for your eyes to water and for the tears to leak into your nose must be much longer than the time between staring at the sun and sneezing. Therefore, Bacon’s hypothesis has also lost its validity.
Despite incredible advances in technology and medicine, we still don’t know for sure why looking at the sun causes sneezing. However, many scientists have researched and pondered on the subject. Henry Everett, who named this reflex the photic sneeze reflex, developed a theory that is supported by many today.
Everett, based on the fact that the sneezing reflex occurs as soon as one looks at the sun, suggested that the reflex may be related to the stimulation of the central nervous system. Moreover, this reflex does not occur in everyone, and it is also observed in the families of those who do. In the light of this information, Everett suggested that the photic sneeze reflex is due to the genetic structure of the central nervous system.
If you’re wondering if I’m one of those people who sneeze when looking at the sun and want to try it, pay attention to the conditions under which you do the experiment. Sneezing carries the risk of spreading disease in a crowded environment and an accident while driving.
In environments where sneezing is not appropriate, the safest way to prevent sneezing is to gently rub the area between the top of the upper lip and the nose.