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This Poor Girl Sneezes 12,000 A DAY



Some people sneeze three times in a row; Katelyn Thornley sneezes 12,000 times a day.
The 12-year-old from Texas started sneezing constantly about a month ago and now sneezes about 20 times a minute. She’s been unable to go to school because of her condition.
“It just started in little spurts,” Katelyn told CBS DFW. “I just started sneezing. I thought it was like, oh, I’m just allergic to something.”
Now, she says her abdomen is constantly in pain from the effort of sneezing and her legs hurt. She’s also weak and can barely eat.
Katelyn has seen six doctors so far, who have ruled out allergies as well as a virus and all are stumped as to what might be causing her sneezing.
The sneezing does stop, however, when Katelyn falls asleep—which happens only after she takes Benadryl and listens to the Beatles.
Her story is eerily similar to that of Lauren Johnson, a 12-year-old whomade headlines in 2010 for her constant and inexplicable sneezing. Lauren also sneezed up to 12,000 times a day and only stopped when she was sleeping.
Four months after her sneezing started, it stopped.
Lauren was diagnosed with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections, a.k.a. PANDAS,Today.com reports. She was given a treatment called intravenous immunoglobulin, which boosted her immune system and eventually caused the sneezing to stop.
Tanya Murphy, M.D., a professor in the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of South Florida who has researched PANDAS, tells WomensHealthMag.com that the condition usually presents itself as a dramatic and overnight onset of severe OCD (severe worries and compulsive behaviors) or tics.
It can also be accompanied by temper tantrums, high anxiety, phobias, and trouble with handwriting.
“The cause of PANDAS is the strep bacteria that causes strep throat,” she says. “However, not all people with the infection will have symptoms of a sore throat. In the case of PANDAS, the symptoms are thought to be due to an autoimmune reaction to the brain where antibodies meant to fight strep mistakenly attack the brain.” She says the flu and walking pneumonia have also been reported as a cause of PANDAS.  
Murphy says that Katelyn’s constant sneezing would be an unusual symptom of PANDAS—however, she’s not ruling it out. “Her presentation is not typical of tics or PANDAS, but it is possible,” she says. “It may be worth checking her infection history to see if there is a connection and doing appropriate tests.”
Luckily, Murphy says most children’s symptoms will improve once the infection and autoimmunity are treated—with a few weeks or, in some cases, a few months.
Can this happen to adults, too? Murphy says it could happen, but PANDAS is much less likely to begin when someone is a grown-up.
Women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., says that it’s possible for adults to suffer from chronic sneezing due to other issues like allergies or a disorder. “Some people have an immune-mediated hypersensitivity which may trigger excessive sneezing,” she says.
So while it could happen to you, it’s pretty unlikely. Phew.
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