Hello. I guess you know why I'm here. That's right: smoke smell. I smoked for 25 years but quit nearly five years ago. I am very sensitive to smoke now, choking and having to take small, shallow breaths when I am near smoke. Two weeks ago, while on vacation, we wound up in a smoking restaurant. Even though we were in the non-smoking section, I had to keep a napkin on my nose to be able to breath. The choking sensation is so bad that I can't even speak; I gag and am not able to get a complete sentence out. The next day, we also wound up in a gigantic tourist shop that reeked of smoke. Unfortunately, since the place was so huge and had prices much better than those in the regular tourist spots, we were in there for an hour--with me choking and stuttering all the way. That same day we went home, and the smoke smell did not leave me. I gagged all the through our five-hour car ride, even stopping to dig out a clean shirt from my suitcase, thinking that the smoke smell had attached to my shirt. That didn't work. So I figured it was on my pants or my hair, or even on my family's clothes as well. So after we got home, I immediately got into the shower. But I was assualted by smoke smell right after I got out! That nasty smell, which distrupted my sleep, lasted for two full days. The only thing that brought me any relief was to rub a pile of Vicks under and around my nose. But that only lasted for a few minutes--then I could still feel the mintiness of the Vicks on my face, but I could not smell it anymore. All I smelled was smoke. This lasted for two days, but then went away. I thought that maybe the smoke smell had "latched on" to stuff in my sinuses, and that it took a while for it to be moved out of my system.
At least that's what I thought until yesterday, when the smoke smell returned with a fury! I live in an area where people burn their trash, so I figured it was wafting in through the A/C system. But then later, when I went out to pick up my kids from school, I noticed how CLEAN and FRESH it smelled outside. It didn't smell like smoke at all! That's when I began to suspect that the problem was "in my head," so to speak. So last night, I had a very rough night, unable to sleep for the smoke smell. Like before, Vicks worked, but only for a few minutes at a time, so I repeatedly put it on hoping I would be able to fall asleep while still smelling Vicks. I awoke several times during the night, only to find myself choking on smoke smell. Oh yes, I also developed a headache last night.
Today the smoke smell has been just as bad--constant, burning my nostrils and gagging me, although not making my eyes water. But at one point, the smell suddenly left. I could "feel" something moving in my sinuses when that happened, as if something shifted. It happened when I got up from my seat and was walking around. Then the smell stayed away for a while as I was out doing errands, but returned again once I arrived home and sat in my chair.
So for me, I suspect the smoke smell is related to sinuses. I have never been diagnosed with allergies. But a few other wierd things make me wonder if it's all related:
--a few weeks ago the entire right side of my head and face started tingling ... the sensation came on strong and then sort of petered out.
--a few days ago, when walking into the bathroom, I noticed an overwheming MOLD smell. My husband said he couldn't smell it, but he tried to pull up the ends of the carpets to see if anything was wet. He couldn't see anything.
--For many years--at least 10--I have suffered on and off episodes of nausea mingled with headaches ... it feels like a hangover that won't go away. At its worst, which was only last month, I was laid up in bed for two days, feeling sick with a fast, thready heartbeat, a "sick" feeling in my head and gut, and a headache.
I don't know if these things are related or not. But I certainly wish--like you all do--that we could find some answers.
If any of you reading this "connect" with my symptoms or problems, please let me know. It really does help knowing you're not crazy--and that you're not alone!
Thanks for listening. I'll be tuning in here for more reports and in hopes of finding a solution!