12-Year-Old Sneezes 12,000 Times A Day

Katelyn Thornley, 12, can’t stop sneezing

A 12-year-old Texas girl sneezes 12,000 times a day and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. The sneezing began three weeks ago, but rather than go away, the sneezing has escalated prompting the girl to stay home and to deal with an ailment no one seems to understand.

The girl, Katelyn Thornley, initially passed off the sneezing as an allergic reaction, but her situation only got worse. “I’m constantly in pain with my abdomen, my legs are weak, I can barely eat,” she says.


Her family arranged for Katelyn to be checked by six different physicians, who seemed just as baffled by her condition. Allergies are not present and viruses have been ruled out. Some suggest that it could be a stress-related syndrome.

The seventh grader is only in peace when she is asleep after taking Benadryl. She is also trying to relax by listening to the Beatles to see if the sneezing will go away.

“Anything you talk to her about that irritates her— you can see it spike and continuous sneezing,” says Katelyn’s father.

Katelyn Thornley, 12, can't stop sneezing

Katelyn Thornley, 12, sneezes 20 times in a minute. 

Dr. Mered Parnes, a neurologist from the Texas Children’s Hospital, suggests that the sneezes may be tics. “One of the things it could be and that it looks quite a bit like, are tics,” he told Fox26.

Tics are habitual spasmodic sudden contractions of muscles that start as twitching or spasms in the face and head. Since Katelyn described a feeling of tickling her nose that went away with sneezing, a typical characteristic of tics, the neurologist feels that her case is treatable.

The girl is unable to attend school or complete her normal day-to-day activities. “Sometimes I wish I could leave my body for a little while so I could watch myself sleep and be at peace because even in my dreams, I sneeze,” says Katelyn. Despite the trouble, she is trying hard to stay up beat, she mentions.

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