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Personal hygiene at work. How do you deal with it?

(34 Posts)
Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:01:36

Feel terrible for even posting. Lovely colleague. It's not BO it's more the other end. I think it's more than a hygiene problem. Physical probably. I'm uber sensitive to smells. I was boaking yesterday. I tried to tell my bods who asked what exactly was the smell and then said what could she realistically do about it?

Helpyourself Tue 18-Feb-14 23:06:34

Someone should tell her. It can be an indicator of something sinister- sadly it's what alerted Jade Goody that there was something amiss.
But tell her at the end of the day, that would be awful to be told you smell then have to sit at work all day. If she's lovely could you tell her?

ForgettableTampon Tue 18-Feb-14 23:08:35

Do you mean farting? Say "tell me when you want me to pull your finger" with hanky poised by your face?

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:08:45

No! She's lovely but I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her. She's older, my mothers age.

ForgettableTampon Tue 18-Feb-14 23:09:16

Oh god you mean something else. eeek.

TheReluctantCountess Tue 18-Feb-14 23:09:17

That's worrying. I have a colleague that leaves an atrocious fishy smell in the toilets and we all know not to go in the cubicle after her.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:09:25

Not farting more like urine.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:10:34

The cloak rooms stink. It's awful. I seriously can't cope. Poor love. I feel for her.

ForgettableTampon Tue 18-Feb-14 23:12:13

Ah right. Poor lady. No idea what to do. Having a think.

millefleur Tue 18-Feb-14 23:17:42

Could it be that she doesn't dry her laundry properly? I used to work with someone who smelt like that? Or is it definitely urine?

i cant think of anything you can say though, that wont leave her mortified

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:21:08

I don't know about Laudry. We work in a public service. I keep thinking what do the clients think? It's horrible as she's so nice. My bosses will be in a vile position but I can't not say anything.

SundaySimmons Tue 18-Feb-14 23:21:53

Sounds like a bladder problem? My ex mil refused to pay for tena lady and just wore panty liners or sanitary towels but they stank of urine and I used to buy her tena lady for her but since moving away I have no idea what she uses now.

It is a delicate issue but one that perhaps needs kind attention.

I would aim for a female, possibly in same age group mentioning it and asking if she is well. Some kidney problems can also cause a bad smell.

Hope the lady is ok and treated with kindness.

iggymama Tue 18-Feb-14 23:25:47

Could you fabricate a general conversation about your friend/relative who has been delighted with the results of their tvt/tot bladder op? How they wish they had seen their doctor and it done years ago.

Urinary incontinence is not something anyone has to live with these days, whatever Tena would have us think. The op involves passing some mesh tape accross the pelvis to support the bladder. I had this op a few years ago and it is fab to cough or sneeze without pissing my pants. Your colleague must be aware that she leaks, but perhaps she does not know what her options are.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:32:19

It's a bloody awful situation. She is 65 plus and very touchy. I don't think anyone would dare say anything.

SundaySimmons Tue 18-Feb-14 23:47:46

Is there a personnel or human resources department that could call her in on the pretence of a medical update?

I think she has a form of incontinence and is not using the correct product. Even a few small drips of urine if it is strong will smell after a few hours in a warm office, especially if she wears tights or trousers.

I'm not sure how this would go down, but using her email address you could request information from the tena lady website so that she thinks it's been randomly sent to her but may read it and find the information helpful.

She could be very ill and not know it.

Beamur Tue 18-Feb-14 23:55:24

Your boss needs to deal with this and not pass it back to you for ideas. That's very shoddy and unprofessional - she/he needs to bite the bullet and get advice from HR if they don't know how to approach it. Poor lady, she has probably got used to the odour and doesn't realise other people can smell it.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 18-Feb-14 23:59:07

Oh, I agree my boss needs to deal with it. It's being going on so long a lot of the staff are used to it but I've never had to work so closely with her before. It was only yesterday. It's so tough because she is beyond the old retirement age. It's terribly sensitive. I don't know the answer.

DIddled Tue 18-Feb-14 23:59:35

I saw something on embarrassing bodies about 'fish odour syndrome' - quite horrendous and life changing condition which can be managed to an extent with diet - felt awful for the girl in question sad

NearTheWindmill Tue 18-Feb-14 23:59:51

I have a terribly weak bladder and there are things you can do. Pelvic floor exercises with proper physio, still leak when I have a bad cough etc.. Tena Lady is essential; spare pants and wet ones at work; and I don't wear trousers that need drycleaning very often any more. All a bit sad, but part of life.

From an HR point of view - yes, do talk about it at the end of the day and don't say some of us have mentioned - that gives the impression you have all been talking about it. Say, I have noticed and wondered if you were aware; if there's anything I can do to help you find out what might be causing it. HR could do this but you would have to be up front and allow them to admit that one person has been to see them because of the sensitivity and who it is so that she isn't wondering who out of a team of 10 raised it. HR could also offer support re Employee Assistance/Counselling and OHP referral for any underlying problems.

I hate dealing with stuff like this although usually it's BO. sad

Lighthousekeeping Wed 19-Feb-14 06:46:50

Let's see how it goes today

NoEgowoman Wed 19-Feb-14 07:03:42

I think this would just be too upsetting for her. You can't tell her. I think the poster up thread who suggested talking generally about someone who has had a successful operation has the right idea. Don't talk to anyone else she will feel everyone is talking about her. I'm not surprised your boss won't talk to her. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

Lighthousekeeping Wed 19-Feb-14 07:20:32

I know. It's a horrid situation for everyone.

ExcuseTypos Wed 19-Feb-14 07:21:43

If someone does mention it, and i think they should, they could say that it's only something that's been noticed in the last couple of days.
I think that will be slightly less embarrassing for the poor woman than saying its been going on for a while.

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Wed 19-Feb-14 07:34:38

I wonder if she is a bit depressed not bring thorough with self care? Or maybe she's just a bit dribbly?

Davidhasselhoffstoecheese Wed 19-Feb-14 07:37:35

Could you just tell her there is a funny smell in your room but you don't know what it is. Tell her you've noticed it for a while but forgot to say

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