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Podcast: The Sun and the Sneezing, Interpretation

Do you also sneeze when facing the sun? Well, the diagnosis is simple, you, like one in four people, are affected by photoreactions.

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In the seventy-fifth episode of Sixth Science. The Science et Avenir podcast and 20 Minutes tell you all about these sneezes that are triggered only when exposed to light – also called heliotropics – and not due to, say, an allergy or the presence of irritating dust in the air. At the microphone, Sylvie Rio Milliot, Head of Health, answers questions from Roman Golomes from 20 minutes

So it all always starts with sunlight (or artificial light), which acts as a trigger for sneezing in often irrepressible bursts. The Anglo-Saxons even humorously called this syndrome onomatopoeia, Achoo, for the dominant helio-optic outburst. But if the first observations actually dated back to the 1950s—it was a French ophthalmologist who noticed that the light from his devices caused his patients to sneeze—it was only recently, last fall, that a German scientist published at Oxford himself suffering from That kind of sneeze, Manuel Speschan, decided to find out more.

He launched a questionnaire to form a collection of sneezes known as the Oxford Sneeze Scan. Within a few months, nearly 300 volunteers contacted him, all of whom responded via advertisements placed in the press and social networks. It now remains for the scientist to continue his work, perhaps to test the effect of different light waves, and in any case to understand the exact physiological mechanisms behind this reflex.

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We already know that sneezing protects us from external factors like dust and pollen and we shouldn’t hold back. In fact, a clinical case reported by a scientific journal in 2018 of a 34-year-old British man showed that by trying to hold back sneezing, he spontaneously perforated his pharynx! So treat yourself to the pleasure of sneezing and find the full article in the March issue of Science et Avenir – La Recherche on newsstands since the end of February or on Science et Avenir. Without forgetting to immerse yourself between two men in Sixth Science Archive All Available Or sign up for free here.

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