FEATURE HYGIENE BAD SMELLS Bad smells are never a good thing, but they are far more prevalent in summer than they are in winter. Heat and humidity are a breeding ground for bacteria, allowing the associated smells to travel further and faster. CHT looks at the best ways to keep things smelling fragrant as we enter the summer months As everyone knows sense of smell, and how a person reacts to those smells, is unique to each individual person. The point at which a smell actually impacts someone’s comfort depends upon the frequency, concentration and duration of an odour. Also, most interestingly, on past memories and experiences. Indeed smell is the sense most closely linked to memory with smells often triggering recall of past events and even key to unlocking “lost” memories. Psychologists also say that it is far more closely linked to emotion than we realise. Most people know all about the role pheromones play in attraction, but it goes deeper in that with many scientists believing that kissing developed out of humans sniffing each other thousands and thousands of years ago. Mental health experts also say that people without a sense of smell (anosmia) are far more likely to develop depression and cut themselves off from society because subconsciously it is much harder to judge things and people if you can’t smell them. 10 JULY / AUGUST 2016 CLEANING HYGIENE TODAY On the other hand they avoid the illnesses that odours apparently trigger including asthma, panic attacks and hypersensitivity. Maybe. Whatever its history and impact smell plays a massive role in all human societies. Perfumes and flowers are much sought after, people spend a fortune on air fresheners, scented candles and cleaning products. Some even swear by aromatherapy where smells impact moods, raise spirits, boost self confidence and aid sleep. There isn’t any scientific evidence to back up these claims however. What is certain is that humans have evolved to smell things that are dangerous or harmful as “bad”. Some scents might be considered pleasant in one culture but foul in another, this is purely down to culture and expectation. Others however are universally despised, rotting food, faeces, burnt flesh and compost being some of the most obvious. This is because they are undoubtedly dangerous to humans, no matter when or where they live. This is why it is important, not just to Humid air in the summer traps bad smells and causes them to hang around longer than they normally would. But it isn’t just that already present smells last longer and smell worse that causes problems during the summer months. Houses, restaurants and shops all throw their doors open and this means there are just more smells fl ooding the streets. As a general rule “bad” smells will always overwhelm or overpower “good” ones, though no-one can quite seem to agree on why this is. This is worse news for women than for men as studies have shown that women can actually smell better (and more discriminately) than men. Pregnant women are even better at smelling, the close link between smell and taste is why people suddenly like different foods or get cravings whilst pregnant. Age also plays a big part, research shows that the sense of smell begins to deteriorate for lots of people as early as their twenties, with almost everyone falling off a cliff by the time they reach 70.
CHT July / August 2016
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