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leaving the gross of anatomy in the lab

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by oregonDO, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. oregonDO

    oregonDO Member 10+ Year Member

    I've got a question: What are good lab practices and home remedies for removing the smell of Formaldehyde? My Gross Anatomy lab starts next week and I dont want my skin and hair to smell. Any ideas?? previous experiences?? Thanks ;)
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  3. Hskermdic

    Hskermdic Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 1998
    Get used to the smell. Seriously though. We had in our lab a chemical we could spray on our cadavers that helped to kill the airborn formaldehyde odors, though I thought this was kind of potent as well.

    TO keep the formaldehyde smell from your hands where it will be most offensive when trying to eat or do your daily activities spend the extra money and double glove or if you don't want to do that change your gloves a few extra times during the day.

    I think the part that bothered me most about Gross lab was leaving feeling greasy. My classes would be covered in "grease?" or what ever it was but that was the worse. Just go home, clean up and go on. You will get used to the smell.
  4. melancholy

    melancholy 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2000
    Be sure to tie hair back because it _will_ get in your face and become annoying as well as potentially come in contact with the cadaver. Also, your hair, skin, and clothes will smell like formaldehyde anyway, so just be aware of that.. even after a good shower I can still smell some residual odor.

    Don't forget to take off your watch before lab.. and when you wash up, take off your lab coat before you wash your hands so you can rinse up to the elbows (in case you get into the cadavers and your sleeves become pretty soiled).

    As far as gloves go, if you can get the nitrile ones rather than the regular latex those will keep quite a bit of the odor out of your hands. (Nitrile ones are usually solid colored) Double-gloving with latex works as well although sensitivity is a bit dampened to me.

    I don't know if it is just me, but I sometimes felt if I worked out or sweated a lot and then took a shower after gross lab, it would help cleanse my "pores" of the formaldehyde odor. That just sounded very unscientific, but hey.. that formaldehyde smell isn't going to bother you too much the gym and sweating will bring about its own "odor" as well. Hope some of this random advice helps.. it's late...
  5. Yosh

    Yosh Livin' in the WINDY CITY 10+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    NW Indiana
    Luckily I find the smell quite exciting and seem to enjoy it....Having almost aphrodesiac type qualities...maybe this is just the West Coast/California living???

    I am feeling quite blessed....

    Ahh...Gross Lab
  6. John DO

    John DO A.T. Still Endowed Chair 7+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL
    you are quite odd . . .
  7. MSafur

    MSafur Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Queens, NY, USA
    Sorry, but get used to it. It's one of those things you'll never forget. Eventually, it doesn't even bother you so much. You can try washing your hands many times and taking a few showers everyday.

    .....2 1/2 more months left of Gross!!..can't wait for it to be over....
  8. NewAgeDO

    NewAgeDO RockstarDOc 10+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Walnut, CA
    Actually it's pretty cool when fat drips down to your shoes. Just make sure you don't take it home with you. I suggest getting a separate or old just as long as they're comfortable. We're in there almost everyday for at least 2-3 hrs. So getting comfy in there is a big plus.

    SO that how you get the ladies? Maybe I shouldn't shower afterwards so I can give 'em that afro-d effect.
  9. alfonsito

    alfonsito Member 7+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    New York, NY
    Hey guys,

    Just in case you didn't already know, we were told to put a cup of vinegar in with the wash to get the smell out of the clothes. But apart from that, I haven't found a way to get teh smell out of my skin. It sucks, but I guess we have to deal.

    class 2005
  10. Rhys

    Rhys Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2001
    Hi guys, I haven't experienced the wonders of Gross Lab yet, but I have it on good authority that the peppermint soap you buy at Whole Foods Market is about the only thing that gets the smell of the skin. Not sure what to do about the clothes, though.
  11. OldManDave

    OldManDave Fossil Bouncer Emeritus Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 1999
    Lafayette, IN
    Burn the clothes!

    As far as the smell get used to it. You will not realize just how desensitized you have become until you are a second-year and the first-years begin to dissect -- and you get to enjoy that smell all over again. It is esp nasty in the gym! YUCK, a sweltering mix of BO and formaldehyde!!!!!

  12. oregonDO

    oregonDO Member 10+ Year Member

    Thanks everyone!! I will take your advice in consideration!!
  13. johnthestreak

    johnthestreak master of disaster 10+ Year Member

    Aug 29, 2001
    inside your head
    hey yosh what does
    Healthy Mind...Healthy Body

    are you a hundred years old or something?
  14. apple638

    apple638 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2001
    Metairie, La
    I was told by second years that rubbing shaving cream on your hands before you put your gloves on helps keep the odor out of your hands.
  15. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    I must be a total aberration or something, but our labs do not leave us smelling too bad... Seriously, it bothered me for the first two days. Now, I don't think it smells that bad, and the smell doesn't seem to follow us around. I don't have any real tips, except wearing powder-free gloves (cause they feel nicer), making sure you don't wear your street clothes (I think most people just change into scrubs before starting lab), changing out of them as soon as lab is over, washing your hands right after lab.

    I had heard the smell would be terrible and would follow you everywhere. But it isn't true. I think out of the above solutions, the working out one sounds best. I go to the gym right after school gets out, and sweat it out.

    Good luck with it

    Tulane Med '05
  16. John DO

    John DO A.T. Still Endowed Chair 7+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2001
    Tampa Bay, FL

    You're the one that everyone is talking about smelling bad! You never can tell that YOU smell!

    Seriously, I tried the shaving cream on the hands bit today and it really does work! I prefer to go ahead and wash them, too (some say to just rub it in).
  17. SunnyOne

    SunnyOne Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2001
    I read somewhere that if you double glove, and coat your hands with liquid fabric softener between the glove layers, it helps. Nothing I tried during my semester of gross in undergrad seemed to help. This stuff called "fast orange" (an industrial grease remover?) was the best I could find, and even that scent seemed to work only temporarily. You do get used to it, but never 100%. Good luck!
  18. muonwhiz

    muonwhiz Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2001
    Hear, hear! The question is not whether the lab rat med student can smell it, but whether others can. We may get used to the smell, but friends and family will not let us near without a remedy! Keep those suggestions coming!
  19. Wasabi

    Wasabi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Chicago, Illinois
    during my year-long experience as a cadaver dissection lab assistant at my school, there was one snack i had to put off-limits because it intensified the smell of formaldehyde.

    kellogg's blueberry nutra-grain bars!

    haha, i know it sounds kinda strange, but you have to trust me on this! try it sometime, if you have the chance. :D
  20. Yosh

    Yosh Livin' in the WINDY CITY 10+ Year Member

    Oct 25, 1999
    NW Indiana
    As a "quick" reply to an earlier post...

    The Healthy Mind...Healthy Body

    Is from college fraternity is the motto...and this year...this past August was our 100th year since we were founded in Virginia

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