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3 Critical Warning Signs of an Approaching Seizure

an elderly man sitting on a black sofa waiting for a seizure

According to research, roughly 10% of people will have a seizure at some point during their lifetime. As a sudden and uncontrolled change in the brain’s activity, a seizure triggers violent shaking, stiffness, twitching, and temporary loss of consciousness. If the patient fails to get diagnosed and treated on time, the symptoms may exacerbate and become progressively worse and longer in duration.

Understanding the warning signs of an approaching seizure is a great way to prepare oneself beforehand and potentially reduce the severity of the seizure. Here are the three critical signs of a seizure to help you recognize it in the future.

1. Unusual and Detached Feeling

It’s important to note that seizures are unpredictable, brief, episodic, and stereotypic. While looking out for an approaching seizure is possible, the signs aren’t always reliable. If you are unable to detect an upcoming seizure beforehand, start looking out for recurring behavior changes and/or patterns prior to the seizure.

In some cases, people feel an unusual and indescribable feeling. This may be an out-of-body sensation or fuzziness. The person may also feel spaced out. If a loved one has seizures, ask them to communicate any odd feeling that comes over them. This will help you take measures to circumvent or get them to a safe place so that they’re not injured during their seizure.

2. Odd Smell and/or Taste

an elderly man developing an odd taste prior to an approaching seizure

In some instances, people experience an odd smell like burning rubber and/or strange taste in their mouth prior to an approaching seizure. This varies from person to person, but becoming aware of these smells and/or tastes can help the patient lie down in time and potentially fight the seizure off.

Interestingly, some people can ward off a seizure by sniffing garlic or roses—any strong order can help.

Recommended Read: Deep Brain Stimulation for Epilepsy: Your Questions Answered

3. Confusion

Confusion is extremely common prior to and following a seizure. However, it’s hard to detect. The nature and extent of confusion is different for each patient. While someone may feel slightly unsettled, another patient may experience extreme confusion combined with sleepiness and daydreaming.

If you are susceptible to seizures, be hyper-aware of its patterns if they exist. Everyone’s warning signs are different, but if you feel dazed and confused, it’s very likely that a seizure may be coming on. People, situations, and things may start to look odd, and you may experience slight forgetfulness.

If you have time, use your coping strategies and medication (if your doctor has prescribed it) to ward off the attack. Don’t be afraid to tell someone around you that you feel a seizure approaching so that they can get you to a safe place. There are also prevention tips that can halt an approaching episode.

Treatment for Seizures in Houston, Texas

If you or a loved one are exhibiting signs of an approaching seizure, get to a safe place first. Then call your doctor as soon as possible. If you don’t have one, click here to find a specialist at Houston Physicians’ Hospital that’s right for you. We serve patients across Southeast Texas, including Houston, Galveston, Clear Lake, League City, and Webster. Our treatments also include back surgery, physical therapy services, and knee replacement, among others.