My Sensory Life: Smell

Here we are in Spring where April showers bring May flowers. I have heard that saying many times in my life and just figured that it was referring to the Mayflower that the pilgrims came on and the “April showers” part just placed a picture of a calendar on the month of April taking a literal shower. Only recently I have finally found the true meaning of that saying, so now you may be thinking what does any of this have to do with sensory issues? Well absolutely nothing. I just wanted to share that with you since I found it funny. Anyway onto the topic, in spring time my sense of smell takes a big hit. Luckily I’m not allergic to cats, dogs and my many farm animals but pollen and dust really just gets to me. I start my day off with a sneezing frenzy it’s very common to have said “bless you” to me seven times before noon and it just gets worse as the day continues if I don’t take an allergy pill. Though an allergy pill only stops those symptoms it does not prepare me for the plethora of smells that come my way.
Dr. Gary Beauchamp, a taste and smell researcher states that “it’s estimated that the number of odors that people can detect is somewhere between 10,000 and 100 billion, or even more!” As huge as that number may seem it does not surprise me since my sense of smell is superb. I’m often one of the first people you come to if you need to find the source of an unwanted aroma. Sometimes I often can recognize the presence of someone that was or is in the room by the way they smell. Having a very hypersensitive sense of smell gives me the impression of having a super power that is kinda useless or detrimental. Though it does have some advantages that I tend to enjoy. At stores I often love finding the best smelling bouquet of flowers, knowing the specific mix of spices that was used for today’s dinner, and that sweet faint smell of morning dew on grass. These are all great things for your nose to come across but those 100 billion odors do not only include pleasant smells, there are odors that everyone stays clear from because they can be overwhelming. Although sometimes in my case pleasant odors can become just as overwhelming as bad smells and I’ll explain why. 
The store Body and Bath Works is known for its abundant pleasant smelling products. I feel like it literally lures people into its shop with its sweet aroma like a Venus flytrap. Though don’t get me wrong I really enjoy their products too. I just like to use very small amounts because of its strong smell. Also I very rarely enter the store because my nose goes into a blitz and creates panic among all my senses. I can be in that store and feel like I can’t hear what you are saying or focus my eyes on what you are showing me simply because I’m overwhelmed by my sense of smell. So my solution is to hold my breath the entire time I’m in the store until I’m done shopping or I pass out. Nah I’m just joking with you guys I don’t take it to that extent even though I have considered it. Instead I just step outside and take a breather as often as I need it and for as long as I need it.
Now for those stinky icky get it away from me types of smells, I have plenty of encounters with them, especially when it comes to living on a farm and working with kids. Though how would I deal with them? It’s not like I can say to my horse “hey can you by any chance make your poop less stinky” or tell my students “if anyone forgot to brush their teeth they can’t come into class.” That would be just plain ridiculous and rude so instead I use many of these techniques. This includes using an essential oil diffuser because it not only can override unwanted smells but can also provide aromatherapy by setting a calm environment. Essential oils also prove useful when you’re on the move and can’t set up an essential oil diffuser. I often like to dab a drop on my wrist, a spot on my clothing, or sometimes even on my upper lip. Another trick I recently learned is sniffing coffee beans to get rid of any previous smell that tends to linger in your nose. Although people don’t always carry coffee beans on themselves, so I guess it’s not the most useful. Though removing yourself to take a break from those intense odors is one of the best options and perhaps eventually your tolerance level will grow as you become more comfortable with the smell. Now if your nose is sensitive to pollen and dust like mine then I suggest taking allergy pills or even taking a hot shower with eucalyptus essential oils to open up your sinuses and help with congestion. Meanwhile don’t let your runny nose run you over and enjoy the April showers.
Abigail Rivera
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