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Do you have a keen sense of smell ?

(37 Posts)
Gunznroses Wed 08-May-13 12:58:57

How has it affected you ? my strong smell sense has resulted in having to change jobs in the past, and more recently may have to consider a new church, all because i seem to smell things other people don't. The smell is there and i can locate the source, but it's just not strong enough for others to smell iyswim. It's very difficult explaining it to people as i've had people say i'm being 'silly' or 'unkind', they just don't understand it's a real problem.

I also associate some smells with a colour, for instance a rotting flesh smell would be green or yellow, a pleasant floral smell would usually be lilac etc. Just wondered wether there were others here.

hancat Thu 09-May-13 07:00:41

(Meant to say - what was weird for me was being able to smell the chemicals 'underneath' the perfume they mask them with.)

PostBellumBugsy Thu 09-May-13 09:34:32

hancat, for me somone coming down with a cold has slightly sweet, metallic breath, this intensifies in the first day of the cold but then goes and is replaced with a mucus smell. For me it is very distinctive and seems to be the same for all people coming down with a cold.

As I get older, I am better able to manage my smell thing - or maybe it is just lack of choice. For example, my father has been in hospital alot recently & I find on first arriving in the hospital, I am assaulted by the smell & by the time I get up to the ward, full of elderly incontinent people with bed sores, ulcers and every other smelly condition it is only willpower & mouth breathing that is preventing me from retching - but after about 15 mins - I can breathe through my nose again. Oddly though, when I get outside, I can smell it all on my clothes and have to change when I get home.

Weird stuff!

hancat Thu 09-May-13 11:18:20

That's interesting as I can smell that smell on my dds before they get a cold, but never on adults. Perhaps with children they are still 'purer' so fewer competing bodily smells and therefore easier to pick out that distinct one. Or maybe it's just due to proximity/knowing them so well.

Glad that you find it easier to block the smells these days!

Gunznroses Thu 09-May-13 20:25:05

Postbellum - its horrible how the smell hangs on ones clothes isn't it? I don't get the mettallic smell of cold from others but i can smell my own. It starts with a very harsh dry greyish smell, then changes to the mucus smell, this lingers until about a week after the cold has actually cleared up.

You and a few posters have said you breath through your mouth when the smell gets too much, how do you do it ? When i smell someting foul i instinctively close my mouth very tight, if the smell accidently goes in mouth it feels with saliva and have to retch as it becomes to potent.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 09-May-13 22:14:33

The 'coming down with a cold' smell is like an ill version of a coppery catarrh smell. Sort of like a rotting, snotty old coin. I cannot effectively describe how rank it smells. It makes me want to clamp my mouth closed, cover my nose and back away quickly, but that's not usually socially appropriate.

aPseudonymToFoolHim Thu 09-May-13 22:23:17

I have anosmia. I have no sense of smell AT ALL.
It also affects my ability to taste (I couldn't even tell you if a meal had 10 cloves of garlic in it)
It makes me paranoid and anxious because I can't smell myself, or clothes that may have been washed, dried, folded and put on DCs' beds then knocked to the floor, so unless there is someone trustworthy (rules out 5yo DS) to smell for me, it all has to go back in the wash.
I have to err on the side of caution, and sometimes I probably seem a bit stand offish, but it's just because I think my breath may smell of coffee/garlic etc, so I don't want to get too close or in deep conversation. I'm a fitness instructor, and have to teach 4 or 5 classes a day, so by the end of the day, I'm REALLY paranoid, though it would be that day's fresh sweat.

DoctorAnge Thu 09-May-13 22:26:33

I also have a very sensitive sense of smell indeed. I feel like I smell my way through life! DH always said I would have made a fortune in wines.

I suffer from GAD and panic disorder.

Bowednotbroken Thu 09-May-13 22:35:55

I recognise so much of what has been said above - loathe perfume, biological washing powders, fabric conditioner etc - could always smell when my kids were going to be ill etc. in my case it is linked to fibromyalgia - the best explanation I've read is that the central nervous system is turned up too high- so I'm oversensitive to light and sound too. Will have to try the Vaseline idea!

PostBellumBugsy Fri 10-May-13 11:06:22

Bowednotbroken, there is definitely something in the senses being more highly tuned. I suffer from sensory overload sometimes & my DS who is ASD suffers from this really badly.

There was a documentary on the TV about people who have synesthesia, where the senses are more highly tuned and can sometimes overlap the neurological pathways, so you smell in colour or see sounds - that kind of thing.

Self diagnosed, I would say I must have it to a certain degree, as I associate certain smells with colours and I find certain noises evoque colours too.

Gunsznroses, the mouth breathing thing doesn't kill the smell altogether and if it is really strong, I still get a whiff of it through my mouth, but for me it is slightly better than dragging the honk in through my nose. Always changed nappies and mopped up DC puke mouth breathing!

I also think I'm missing a trick not making a fortune in wine tasting too!

CheeryCherry Fri 10-May-13 11:29:09

Fascinating, I have a keen sense of smell, particularly on a morning where I cannot stomach many food particularly can make me retch. I can't cope with smelly breath..cigarettes, garlic, curry all make me heave. Love to inhale floral and fruity scents- u fill my nostrils when I can to try hold into it- though in hospital the strong smell of lilies was overwhelming. I am skilled in breathing through the mouth if I suspect a hideous smell, it saves me. I too can smell periods, and full nappies...
Have smelled gas outside a neighbours house...prevented a disaster as he hadn't realised. I smell smoke and burning at a thousand paces.
I do like having a keen sense of smell, I would miss it if it went.

Gunznroses Fri 10-May-13 17:17:00

Apart from vaseline wink what other type of coping mechanisms do people use, for difficult situations.

Threebees - your description of 'cold' smell is spot on ala 'rotting, snotty old cold'...uhum.

Bowednotbroken Fri 10-May-13 19:14:15

I can't stand the smell of flowers either though...

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