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March 13, 1987

Solar Sneeze Reflex

Author Affiliations

Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation La Jolla, Calif

Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation La Jolla, Calif

JAMA. 1987;257(10):1330-1331. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390100068019

To the Editor.—  Sneezing upon entering sunlight is a common though poorly characterized phenomenon that has received only brief mention in the medical literature and has not been studied in an allergy clinic population. We have prospectively studied 15 subjects who exhibit a "solar sneeze reflex" and have followed up these patients during treatment of their underlying rhinitis.

Study.—  Of 138 patients treated for rhinitis during a nine-month period, ten women and five men, who ranged in age from 24 to 61 years, described a tendency to sneeze one to 20 times in sunlight. Six had allergic (IgE-mediated) rhinitis, five has vasomotor rhinitis, and four had aspects of each; seven also had asthma. All were treated with daily antihistamines and decongestants, intranasal or oral corticosteroids, and avoidance of allergens and irritants when relevant; one patient continued immunotherapy that had been started eight months earlier. After improvement (rated significant in ten