Help - can't deal with Formaldehyde smell

Hi everyone,

I am in anatomy this semester and the formaldehyde smell from the cadavers is too much for me…everytime I am next to the body the smell overwhelms me and I start gagging. Not only is this embarassing - but it keeps me from learning because I have to hold my breath to be around the body. Outside of breathing through my mouth…does anyone have any tips on how to deal with this?

Advice is appreciated!

Don’t they use mint to cover the smell? I suggest finding a minty essential oil to put under your nose so that you have a chance at making it through. Best wishes!

put wintergreen oil on a cottong bal and put it in a shirt pocket. Thats what I do when I have really stinky pts that make me want to gag…it works like a charm

sorry, I can’t spell today. I meant cotton ball

Vaseline is suppose to work pretty well. Vaporub maybe?

Thanks for all the tips! I will try the cotton ball one with the oil…and also the vapor rub in my nostrils!

Yes…they do cover the smell witha “fresh-type” of scent and its not so bad when it’s faint, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me but I start gagging as soon as I get a good strong wif of the stuff. I will try all of these things and will report back!

I worked at a medical examiner’s office for almost a year, and vapor rub and strong mint, will only open up your nasal passages and allow you to smell the odor more so.

i havent ever tried the cotton ball trick, but i would highly recommend you stay away from any vapor rub or anything else that clears you up.

Oh wow - that makes a ton of sense! Thank you for pointing that out

Our school provided air purifying respirators to students bothered by the formaldahyde. A number of students used them esp during the first weeks. After a feww weks the smell seemed to get a bit less and some were able to stop using the respirators. While they may be a bit uncomfortable, this is a better approach as it avoids breathing the stuff in the first palce rather tham simply masking the smell. Your lab director should be able to provide a respirator if you need one.

I don’t know if this works. Friend of mine told me that he took a vial of that nasty smelling juice home in a test-tube with a stopper and sniffed it, opening the stopper every 15 minutes daily. He claims that he still hates the smell but it no longer causes him to gag. I never tried this method, so not sure.