Sunday, July 6, 2008

Blinded by the light.... Gesundheit!

After years upon years (25) of considering myself to be just like everybody else... I have learned that I have a genetic autosomal dominant trait that puts me into the 17 - 35% subset of humanity. This malfunction of mine is called photic sneeze reflex.

This reflex presents itself in several ways:
  • If I leave a movie theatre during a day where the sun is shining, I will most likely sneeze a handful of times. I remember a slew of sneezes coming out as I left the Chief Cinema after watching Sabrina. (Ford, not Bogart... goof.)
  • If I'm on the verge of sneezing... you know, when your brain and your body poise for a sneeze, but it can be a false alarm... well, this response I have to light helps me get that final push over the sneeze hill. When it happens, I just glance up at the sun, or a bright light. The worst is when there are no bright lights around. I can sometimes nudge out a sneeze with my cellphone or a computer screen.

I've tried to explain this to my friends. Some of them are bewildered. Most of all, my best friend, Nora Charles. She refuses to believe that this phenomenon exists. I've tried to demonstrate it, but she just laughs. So now that I've produced a Wikipedia as proof, maybe she won't be so incredulous.

For those of you within this percentile of humanity that share this reflex with me, let's celebrate our diversity by unifying. I want to hear about it. You can respond here in this blog... or just speak up in real life. If you want to start a Facebook group, I won't stop you.


Unknown said...


Diane said...

I don't sneeze coming out of a dark place in daylight, but for sure use light to push a sneeze over the edge. Grandpa Ray taught me that trick.

Dr Mike said...

It runs at least four generations in our family. My daughter and I did her high school science project on it. Very little real research is published on this and for the most part it is not well understood.

MackAck said...

I have this. Maybe it's allergies. But it might be this.

Joseph and Ofelia said...

I have this too, I just didn't know what it was called. Thanks, now I will be able deal with this.