Sneezes and Chronic Illness: The Surprising Connection Revealed

Allergies are often easily recognized by common symptoms such as dry cough, skin rash, itchy eyes, or a stuffy/runny nose. However, allergies can also cause autoimmune disorders, leading to chronic inflammation and illness. The goal of this article is to help you understand how allergies can lead to so much chronic illness and how to correct it without prescription drugs.

Your Immune And Acute Hypersensitivity Reactions

In the simplest form of an acute allergic reaction, allergy symptoms appear rapidly. The process starts when you come into contact with an allergen, such as pollens, molds, animal dander, medications, or insect venom. Your immune system responds by creating antibodies to protect you from these foreign substances.

Once sensitized to an allergen, subsequent exposure causes the antibodies to react, calling in specialized fighter immune cells. These cells release histamine and other chemical factors of inflammation, leading to familiar allergy symptoms like mucus, swelling, pain, or redness.

Other known mechanisms of allergy can cause chronic inflammation and are harder to identify. These could be allergens from long-term repeated consumption of specific foods, exposure to environmental chemicals, or use of prescription medications. Since these allergens take longer to create an immune reaction, they often go undetected. However, they do create immune hypersensitivity and can be the foundation of chronic illnesses, including autoimmune disorders.

Autoimmune Diseases

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly targets healthy tissue, resulting in an autoimmune response. There are over 160 known autoimmune disorders, and they rank among the top 10 leading causes of death for US women under 65. Autoimmune conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or lupus, share hypersensitive immune reactions leading to inflammation at the core of their pathology.

Furthermore, other common chronic diseases also involve the immune system and inflammation – heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. So, what’s causing this inflammation?

Immune Triggers Of Chronic Disease

Genetic predisposition plays a significant role in chronic illnesses. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a small set of common risk factors are responsible for most main chronic diseases: unhealthy diet and excessive energy intake, physical inactivity, and tobacco use. These factors, along with the non-modifiable risks of age and heredity, contribute to the majority of new cases of heart disease, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, and some cancers.

The China Study, conducted by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., found that 97% of chronic illnesses are attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle, with only 3% due to genetics.

Links Between Immune Hypersensitivity And Inflammation Of Chronic Disease

Your intestinal mucosal immune system must differentiate between harmful foodborne pathogens, other harmful antigens, and beneficial food molecules needed for nutrition. For instance, in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, a dysfunctional mucosal lining triggers inflammation.

However, your gut is also the “antigenic window” to your bloodstream, which is why intestinal health is crucial. Be cautious of the following factors that can disrupt gut health:

  • Antibiotics
  • Motrin® and corticosteroid arthritis medications
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Chemical food dyes and preservatives
  • Digestive enzyme deficiency and low stomach acid
  • High-sugar foods devoid of fiber
  • Cow milk protein (dairy)


Unresolved chronic stress can make your immune regulation ineffective. Stress affects your HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which in turn negatively impacts your immune response.

Additionally, environmental chemicals prevalent in our industrialized world can disrupt hormone receptors and be triggers for inflammation. Other possible immune triggers of chronic diseases include low-grade chronic infections from bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and parasites. Some experts estimate that approximately half of autoimmune diseases are connected to infections.

In summary, allergies can have various manifestations and can even cause the inflammation that leads to chronic diseases. Correcting modifiable causes of inflammation leading to chronic illness is not only up to doctors but each individual’s responsibility.