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Dealing with the smell of Anatomy Lab

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Hello! I have been accepted into medical school for this coming fall, and I'm trying to prepare myself as best I can. I am wondering about how I'll deal specifically with the smell of anatomy lab. I could only find threads talking about removing the smell from hair. The dissection itself I don't think will bother me more than any other person, but I'm very sensitive to aromas. And in my zoology class (which is really the closest I can compare the smell to), after doing a dissection I just lose my appetite. The next day I'm fine. I also have a few friends who do this as well. So, I'm wondering whether anyone knows people who eat vegetarian on the days they do anatomy lab and whether this helps? Or, if anyone sensitive to strong aromas can say how they coped with the smell? Thanks in advance!
 

FlavivirusProtease

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Hospitals don't exactly smell great either (The worst thing I've ever smelt in my life is a patient with a diabetic foot ulcer. It smelled up the whole wing with before the physician even opened the dressing on it).

Exposure therapy might be your friend here.
 
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mydogmolly

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As an EMT a lot of guys would throw some Vicks VapoRub on their upper lip before a scene. Can't smell a thing if that's what bothers you. Otherwise I assume you just get used to it.
 
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brachialplexus

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Formaldehyde smells a whole lot better than the actual cadaver without formaldehyde. You can always bring a disposable mask to lab if you're that sensitive. You eventually grow accustomed to it.
 
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21Rush12

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VapoRub helps. as someone who is really sensitive to smells I know I was worried about this first year. It turns out you get used to it pretty quickly. It’s weird at first but honestly you’ll get accustomed and stop noticing it by the end of the second week.

Also if you forget vaporub, use a flavored chapstick instead. Not as good but gets it done especially Burt’s bees
 
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deleted839069

Thank you guys for the advice! I'm glad I'm not the only who was thinking about this.
 

Cryc_to_the_point

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You get used to it. Wash your scrubs often to keep the smell minimized. It's really not that bad assuming your school has a half decent lab.

You're going to see/smell/feel worse so look at this as a nice introduction to the unpleasant stimuli of medicine.
 

Mad Jack

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The worst thing about anatomy lab is how to this day occasionally something will still remind me of the way that place smelled and it'll freak me out, because it's usually an item of food.
 
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MedicalDoge

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On a similar note, can everyone usually handle the sights of anatomy lab and what they have to do to a human body? I remember a student tour guide on one of my interviews saying he had trouble "sawing the face in half." :confused: Like, I feel like this can be traumatizing. Do you just get accustomed to this seemingly horrifying experience as well? ... It is amazing what the human mind can get "accustomed" to, it is actually kind of scary...

Does anyone have any dropout stories where anatomy was too much for people?
 

21Rush12

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On a similar note, can everyone usually handle the sights of anatomy lab and what they have to do to a human body? I remember a student tour guide on one of my interviews saying he had trouble "sawing the face in half." :confused: Like, I feel like this can be traumatizing. Do you just get accustomed to this seemingly horrifying experience as well? ... It is amazing what the human mind can get "accustomed" to, it is actually kind of scary...

Does anyone have any dropout stories where anatomy was too much for people?

Has it ever happened in the history of time? Probably. It’s not like an established thing.

The cadaver looks unnerving at first but once you start exploring the dissection, the awe of seeing the structures firsthand and the knowledge that this person wanted you to learn from them was more than enough for me to be okay with the situation.
 
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AnatomyGrey12

Formaldehyde can actually make you hungry so I wouldn't worry about that. You just get used to it honestly.
 

Asacrusader

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I used peppermint essential oils and vaporub right under my nose and they last for an hour or two. Once you're a few weeks in you'll get used to the smell and won't need anything anymore. Good luck in med school!
 

Major

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On a similar note, can everyone usually handle the sights of anatomy lab and what they have to do to a human body? I remember a student tour guide on one of my interviews saying he had trouble "sawing the face in half." :confused: Like, I feel like this can be traumatizing. Do you just get accustomed to this seemingly horrifying experience as well? ... It is amazing what the human mind can get "accustomed" to, it is actually kind of scary...

Does anyone have any dropout stories where anatomy was too much for people?

First day was very intense. You could feel the tension in the lab and cut through it with a butter knife.

After that first day, it was all down hill from there.
 
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AsepticTechnique

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You'll get used to the smell- but you'll always be hungry coming out... at least for me that was the case.
 

DexterMorganSK

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The formaldehyde smell is not that bad and you get used to it, use a mask if you need to and take breaks.
Keep your cadaver's body moist, it will decrease the smell. For me, the worst was when using the electric saw to cut the skull bone in half...the smell from that was nauseating (but not as bad a diabetic foot ulcer though).
 

Durty-Trixxx

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You'll get used to the smell soon enough and won't need Vick's Vapor Rub or anything else.

However, the smell DOES get embedded in your clothes so I would buy a dedicated uniform of scrubs and white coat and ONLY use it for anatomy lab. Not sure if you will get a locker at your school which is the best place to store it, but when I had mine at my apartment I kept it in a separate closet away from the rest of my clothes because that awful smell will permeate anything close to it :eek:
 
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