Have been smelling something burning since Thursday night. Its now Sunday night.

I started smelling what smells EXACTLY like a wood fire burning on Thursday night. It's very very strong like I am standing a few feet away from it. Thing is I am the only one who can smell it and the three other people in the house can't and the smell also follows me everywhere I go so its not something in the house.

I almost never get sick and haven't changed anything BUT have had a somewhat bad toothache for about a month but haven't able to go to the dentist so had been taking 1 200mg Ibuprofen before bed so I could sleep. I began brushing with Sensodyne which has killed the pain so I quit the Ibuprofen Thursday or Friday night but the smell began before I quit so it's not like withdrawal or anything I don't think.

Anyone ever heard of anything like this?

Any Ideas what it might be?

Thanks in advance for the replies.

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The name of this is called Phantosmia, or Olfactory Hallucinations. The simplest explanation is that you are smelling something, and your brain is interpreting it as something else. Its a mis-firing of neurotransmitters in the brain.

The cause can be a range of things. Some are simple and nothing to worry about, but others are somewhat scary. I don't want to scare you but I'll go through some of the causes:

The simplest is like I said above, your brain is just misinterpreting one smell for another. This can be treated with medication.

Other causes are schizophrenia and parkinsonism, but considering you are posting to reddit and haven't been previously diagnosed its not that and I assume you are not a 70 year old person either.

Migraine headaches can also cause phantosmia. Its called an aura, which can be experienced before a headache starts. Some people see a halo of light as their aura and others experience phantosmia. If you get migraines that could be the cause.

Epilepsy is another common cause of phantosmia, specifically a burning smell, but if you have never had seizures before or recently its probably not that either.

Lastly, and for the most scary thing, it could be a neuroblastoma, which is a type of brain tumor. Now I don't want you to freak out and think you have a brain tumor. Neuroblastoma is usually found in children and infants, but it can be seen in adults.

My suggestion at this point would be to see what happens in the next few days. If it goes away and never comes back then its probably just your brain smelling something else and interpreting it wrong. However, if this persists then I suggest you make an appointment to see your doctor to run the appropriate tests.

Please let me know what you decide to do and if the smell goes away or continues.

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2 people found this helpful

Thank you for the advice and info. I really appreciate it. I will pay attention to how things go and let you know.

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2 people found this helpful

Now that you mention that, my sense of taste has kinda gone out the window too. I actually think it might be the Sensodyne cause the taste thing happened before and went away when i stopped the Sensodyne for a few days. The smell thing is new though.

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