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Old 10-24-2009, 09:03 AM
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Secondhand smoke as seizure trigger??

okay, posted this at another forum with no replies yet. I try to not post the same thing on different forums as many of us probably look at several, so I try to spread out. But oh well, here goes, because I really am interested in feedback, and my user name is the same so here goes
I have simple partial seizures thus far non-progressive, as in sustained as olfactory auras only (burning smell, burnt wires, etc). I have an aura/seizure a good 15-20 days out of the month even with medication. I cannot quite pin down CONSISTENT, specific triggers, but on more than one occasion, when I have smelled cigarette smoke, I have had a seizure. The other day I had been "clear" (as in no aura yet), ran an errand and the store clerk must be a smoker because I smelled stale smoke that ends up on smoker's clothes, etc. Boom, had my olfactory aura just like that. Then the burn smell stays with me all day, therefore I cannot discern if I ever have an additional seizure! Yet, most of the time, nothing seems to trigger it, it just goes off, home, work, stores, whatever. But I do still wonder if others have noticed smoke as a trigger. In my case, the burning smell also is a little bit like a smoke smell too. But at times when I've walked through an area where people are smoking, I've had a seizure. So I do wonder, it's just strange since burning odors are my seizure symptom. There also is no way to avoid running into people that smoke.

Last edited by k2s4ever; 10-24-2009 at 09:04 AM. Reason: addendum
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Old 10-24-2009, 10:14 AM
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Here's a thread where there's been some discussion of this.

I don't think it's odd that a burning smell is both a trigger and an aura -- probably the area in your brain where your seizures originate is related to smell or the memory of a smell, especially the smell of smoke. The little nerve sequence that tells your brain "I smell smoke" has been triggered often enough that it goes off on its own, even when there isn't actually smoke present. And where there IS smoke your nerves are ready to fire (if you'll pardon the pun).

Since it's tough to avoid secondhand smoke, is there a way you could carry a different smell with you that might mask or mitigate the effects of the nicotine smell? Something like strong mints, or a cologne or perfume, or even a chapstick or cream that you could put on your upper lip.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:57 PM
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I agree with Nakamova. I have issues with second hand smoke *nothing to do with my seizures* but it does make me sick to my sotmache, dizzy, headache, my eyes water, and sometimes its hard to breathe.

This may just be an allergy, but My mother smokes, and I am fine around her, but my grandpa is a chain smoker and leaves all his windows and doors closed in his apartment, so you can smell every cigarette he ever smoked. and this really sets me off into an umcomfortable state.

I agree that it is probably the trigger and the aura. Like Nakamova said. Your brain is you to smelling msoke that isnt there, so when it smells smoke that is real, it isnt sure if it should seize or not, so it goes the path it is used to taking. and you end up with an aura.

When I go to my grandpas,I use a menthol stick that I smell before I go in, and while i am there. it looks just like a chapstick *Vicks has a version out there* and I make it look like I am putting it on my lips, but I will actually just smell it again. It is strong and really clears the sinuses, plus covers the scent of the smoke.

Just change when you get home! it sticks to your clothes too!
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:23 PM
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Rae beat me to my suggestion!!! On te off chance you can't find a menthol stick, you can carry a JAR of Vicks with you, and smell that--though it looks corny, which would you rather? Look corny, or seize? Just an idea.....
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:59 PM
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thank you both!!

excellent feedback. and makes sense too, and like the pun "ready to fire", isn't that the truth, eh?? That does make sense since I have a brain that has now "mis" trained itself to smell a burning odor.
I do have a little bottle of jasmine oil which I have put under my nose, but haven't found it working a preventative nor post seizure either. In my case since the olfactory aura is the only sign, once that burn smell triggers, it stays "on", and since it's literally quick as a light switch flick, by the time I try to sniff the oil to offset it, it's already too late anyway-and again, the jasmine oil scent doesn't turn off the burn smell either. The only thing that makes it go away is sleep.
But the idea of yes, a stronger odor like a menthol as a preventive is worth tooling around with. I don't go into many smoke filled areas, but anywhere you go, people are smokers, and their clothes stink, so that is the unavoidable part.
thanks again-it validates what I thought.
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:38 PM
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Quite interesting...

I occassionally smell cigarette smoke when I go outside of my house. No one is around at all. It's very brief, lasting only about 5 seconds then it's gone. I am unaware if its a trigger for me, as I used to be a heavy smoker myself. (quit 12 yrs ago) In my case, I always thought it was my deceased dad coming to visit me. Corny I know, but daddys lil girl here. I wonder now if perhaps it could be related to E. I am newly diagnosed, and don't think I have auras, or atleast I wasn't paying attention back when my seizures happened. Now that I know for sure what they were, I hope to be a little more in tune with my body and recognize how I feel next time.

Actual smoke doesnt bother me unless I am in a stinky room but I eventually adjust.

This just makes me go .
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