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Old 01-02-2010, 08:05 PM
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Is sneezing ever a symptom of a serious disease?

Inspired by this thread.

It's common superstition to bless someone, or say "to health/your health/whatever" if someone sneezes in many cultures, the idea being you are saying you hope the person isn't really sick.

But is there any serious illness that has sneezing as a symptom? I mean...colds can sometimes make you sneeze, and maybe a flu (personally I've never sneezed because I had a flu, but I've only had a couple, so...)

But is there anything more life threatening that that? Though I guess in "days of yore" a flu was much more serious than it is now, but there anything else a sneeze can be a symptom of? (crazy ass House-esque theories notwithstanding.)
Old 01-02-2010, 08:11 PM
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Corrected typo in thread title.

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Old 01-02-2010, 09:05 PM
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If such a condition exists, it would surely have many other symptoms in addition to sneezing.

For example, the following two 'serious' diseases can have runny nose as a symptom, so I suppose sneezing may also be present. However, sneezing, if present, would almost certainly be ignored or overlooked given the existence of their other more 'attention getting symptoms'.

Mycoplasma infection

Wegener's Granulomatosis

The above two examples are just for illustrative purposes and were basically the first two that came into my head. I'm sure there are many more serious diseases and conditions where sneezing, or at least a runny nose, can occur.
Old 01-02-2010, 10:17 PM
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Tumor on your brainstem is another possibility.
Old 01-02-2010, 10:30 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
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I had a test once that required IVP dye. They did the test and then I sat up and sneezed. The techs and the nurses got really anxious and asked how I felt. I told them my teeth hurt. I then started breaking out into hives and got the shakes. They put me on a gurney in a hallway for a while, and called someone to come pick me up.

So, sneezing can be a sign of an allergic reaction.
Old 01-03-2010, 12:05 AM
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The CDC says "about 36,000 people died of seasonal flu-related causes each year, on average, during the 1990s in the United States."

What's going to be more serious than that?
Old 01-03-2010, 06:15 PM
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I'd always been taught that it's because sneezing is a symptom of bubonic plague, though I don't know how accurate that is.
Old 01-03-2010, 07:11 PM
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There was a popular idea that this version the nursery rhyme:

Ring a-ring o' roses,
A pocketful of posies.
a-tishoo!, a-tishoo!.
We all fall down.

was about the plague. However the idea really doesn't hold a great deal of water. This may be origin of the idea. Sneezing isn't a symptom of the plague. Just about everything else is. Wikipedia has a good coverage:
Old 01-03-2010, 07:21 PM
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:28 PM
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There's Legionella
Originally Posted by CDC
Legionnaires' disease can be very serious and can cause death in up to 5% to 30% of cases.
I'd say that is pretty serious.
Old 01-03-2010, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by A Monkey With a Gun View Post
There's Legionella
I'd say that is pretty serious.
Yes, but does Legionella infection cause sneezing (or a runny nose)?
Old 01-03-2010, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
Yes, but does Legionella infection cause sneezing (or a runny nose)?
I could have sworn it did, but I just double checked the CDC's site and some books I have on the shelf and, um, no. It doesn't cause sneezing - just coughs.

Oh well, I guess I didn't answer the question in the OP did I?

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