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Aura and Seizures

Topic Overview

Aura is the term used to describe symptoms that may occur before a seizure. An aura may include:

  • Visual changes. Examples include:
    • Bright lights.
    • Zigzag lines.
    • Slowly spreading spots.
    • Distortions in the size or shape of objects.
    • Blind or dark spots in the field of vision.
  • Hearing voices or sounds (auditory hallucinations).
  • Strange smells (olfactory hallucinations).
  • Feelings of numbness or tingling on one side of your face or body.
  • Feeling separated from your body.
  • Anxiety or fear.
  • Nausea.

An aura is often the first sign that you are going to have a seizure. You may have an aura from several seconds up to 60 minutes before a seizure. Most people who have auras have the same type of aura every time they have a seizure.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised August 25, 2011

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