Blame Your Parents If This Makes You Sneeze

It's always fun to blame our parents for our more obvious inherited similarities. If you have the same large knuckles as your dad or sport a cleft chin matching your mom's, that can be explained. It's in our genetics. But there are some other, less obvious, quirks about ourselves that are subject to the blame game we have with our parents.

If you tend to sneeze whenever you encounter bright lights, then you can thank one or both of your parents. Not only this, but this odd tendency has a name. It's called photic sneeze reflex (or PSR), and it's estimated to occur in anywhere from 18 to 35 percent of the population, Scientific American reports. And funnily enough, the number of induced sneezes you experience also seems to be genetically mediated. Most often it is two or three. This condition is a dominant trait, so if just one of your parents has it, you have a 50/50 chance of inheriting it too.

The reason why we sneeze when encountering light is not fully understood

While PSR is proven to be a genetic trait, the reason as to why we react with a sneeze when suddenly encountering light is not fully understood. According to Mayo Clinic, the theory is that when you step out of a dark room into light, your pupils contract. This is a rapid reflex triggered by your optic nerve. It is believed that the speedy triggering gives the same feeling as an irritation in the nose, giving rise to the same effect on the trigeminal nerve. Healthline reports another theory explaining that exposure to light can cause the eyes to tear up, which briefly empty into the nose. This may cause a temporary irritation that makes us sneeze.

While some may find it annoying, photic sneeze reflex isn't harmful and there are no treatments. Though, wearing sunglasses and shielding your eyes from the sun could potentially help reduce your sneezing. Despite this, we still believe it deserves a spot on the on-going blame game we have with our parents.