The sun is by far one of the most important stars in our solar system. It gives us light, heat, weather patterns, and provides energy to the plants. If you were to somehow destroy the sun, you would not only doom the future of the earth but that of all the other planets. But today the positives of the sun are not our focus; we are going to look at something on the negative side of this big bundle of reactionary helium and hydrogen.
As mentioned, the sun does give us light and you must be thinking what has the sunlight ever done to anyone? Well, then you probably have experienced the sun making you sneeze? It is a medical condition called photic sneeze reflex or sun sneezing. This is a kind of sneezing brought about by any bright light including that of the sun.
This topic has sparked a lot of curiosity and inquisitiveness not only in this era but also that of the great philosopher Aristotle. He was actually among the first people to address this issue and even came up with his own theory about the phenomena. According to him, it was the heat and not the light which caused people to sneeze. He pointed out in his book—the book of problems—that the sun’s heat caused moisture to accumulate in the nose which in turn forced one to sneeze in order to clear it out. Despite his considerable ingenuity to come up with such an answer, it was discounted by another philosopher by the name of Francis Bacon.
Although right to do so, he also did not come up with the right solution to finally solve this question. He however included the aspect of light which is very essential to our answer. Bacon explained that the sunlight caused our eyes to water which fell to our nose causing an irritation which made one sneeze.
The Sun Making You Sneeze
Sun sneezing is usually a result of a nerve called the Trigeminal nerve. This nerve usually recognizes the irritants that come into your nose and then makes you sneeze to remove them. Now, its location is what really matters. You see, this nerve is situated relatively close to the optic nerve. The optic nerve’s function is to convey visual information from your eyes to the brain through electrical impulses. The sensitivity of this nerve is usually very high in some people.
So, when such a person gets exposed to any bright light like that of the sun, then the over sensitive optic nerve makes an error of passing along some of these signals to its close counterpart, the trigeminal nerve. The nerve unaware that the signals are not irritants to the nose, mistakenly interprets them as one and therefore triggers the person to sneeze.
To most people, this condition is usually not a big deal but for others it can be terrible. Some people can actually experience continuous sneezing for long periods of times which can be unpleasant. Sun sneezing can also cause car accidents when it occurs abruptly and is actually considered as a risk factor when choosing combat pilots. All in all, it’s safe to say that sun sneezing is nothing to, well, sneeze at.