Feb 15, 2010
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I've done some work in an anatomy lab before, but I got very nauseous and light headed. The smell, coupled with the sight of the dead bodies is just hard for me to handle I guess. Does anyone have advice on how to handle this, so I don't pass out or barf when gross lab starts?
 
Oct 25, 2010
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I'm not sure if there is good advice for this, except to say that many people have the same fears as you going in, but they all make it through once they start thinking about the stuff they have to learn, and not the actuality of what is around you.

Also, I have heard that gum helps.
 
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da8s0859q

I've done some work in an anatomy lab before, but I got very nauseous and light headed. The smell, coupled with the sight of the dead bodies is just hard for me to handle I guess. Does anyone have advice on how to handle this, so I don't pass out or barf when gross lab starts?
I've seen gum and masks used with varying degrees of success. Other than that, I hate to say it but it's just a matter of getting used to it.

Might want to also consider double-gloving and being very careful with what you bring into the lab bag- and clothing-wise. You don't want to be eating dinner that night and smelling small intestine on your hand, or depending on the preservative used in your lab, wondering why the smell never completely comes out in the laundry.
 

Melicopter

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Mar 12, 2009
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Gum is not allowed in our lab - don't know if it will be in yours or not.

Some people put a mask on with some scented essential oil on it. Otherwise, if you get light headed flex your thighs! I think it will help push the blood up out of your legs. It might be psychosomatic... but so is passing out, so I think it works! :)
 

QuizzicalApe

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Mar 28, 2010
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Unless you need to work on them, keep any parts of the body that make you uncomfortable covered up. Of course, this is generally good advice anyway - you don't want anything to dry out. Aside from advice already given, I wanted to point out that as you spend more and more time in the lab you should become desensitized. It might be a big hurdle to jump, though.
 

BigRedder

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Make sure you eat beforehand. Getting hungry in the lab is always a little weird...
 

Dr McSexy

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Make sure you eat beforehand. Getting hungry in the lab is always a little weird...
Our lunch is right afterwards. So I'm always hungry during lab.

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We keep parts of the body covered that we are not dealing with. You eventually just get used to it, unless you have long hiatuses between lab periods. Plus, the smells will vary. Our cadaver wasn't embalmed as well as others, so we don't get that huge preservative smell constantly. Others have very well-embalmed cadavers and it actually burns my nostrils while I'm studying from them.

IF anything, until you get used to the environment and smells, our professors let anyone who needed to take breaks, step back from doing the dissections and get some air.
 

LRAccord624

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Oct 18, 2009
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As others have said, you get used to it. If it's allowed, chewing gum might be a good idea. Just don't let it fall out of your mouth into a body cavity... haha. Oh and wear clothes that you ONLY wear to lab- like scrubs, and wash them in hot water after lab.

Do eat beforehand, maybe not a huge lunch if you get queasy, but you need some protein to stick with you until you're finished dissecting- this should help prevent any lightheadedness too. Just remember, if you start feeling faint, please find somewhere to sit. You don't want to pass out and cut your head open on the tank, or cut yourself with a scalpel.

What IS it about anatomy lab that makes you hungry?? It's right after lunch for us and I'm always starving about an hour in.
 

gravitywave

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i find it helps to eat a proper breakfast before i go in. might seem counter-intuitive, but it helps with the nausea. just don't overdo it.

lab was my first experience being nauseated and hungry at the same time :confused:
 

christina30

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Mar 2, 2010
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You get used to it.

I found it helpful to keep the cadaver's face covered, especially. It makes it much less personal.

And I don't know about gum... It's not allowed in our lab. I think the theory behind this is that the gum will absorb the formaldehyde fumes in the air, the idea of which absolutely disgusts me. I'd suggest instead a breath mint if you absolutely have to have something - at least it's less absorbent than a wad of gum.