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Mystery Sinus Theatre 2005

One of my most popular posts is the one from about a year ago, wondering about the smell after you sneeze. People are always commenting and emailing me to say that they've smelled it too and to ask if I found the source. Now, after having seen informative videos on how your sinuses work, I'm wondering if what I'm smelling is a buildup of trapped mucus in my sinuses. This still doesn't explain why I only smell it when I sneeze rather than the whole time I'm sick.

The mystery continues...

srah - Wednesday, 23 March 2005 - 3:38 PM
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Comments (12)

gravatar Mr B------ - March 23, 2005 - 4:33 PM -

Sneezing might blast out some space around the part of your body that actually smells things. Or it might just stir up a lot of sneeze-smelling air in your sinuses!

gravatar srah - March 23, 2005 - 11:59 PM -

Perhaps it expels the trapped snot-smelling air from the stopped-up sinuses and into the part of the nose with receptors. I'm not sure if that's exactly what you've hypothesized there...

gravatar Smuj - March 24, 2005 - 7:07 AM -

My new least-favorite word to read while eating a bowl of oatmeal is mucus.

gravatar srah - March 24, 2005 - 7:10 AM -

Glad to be of service!

gravatar Not Your MOM - March 24, 2005 - 11:01 AM -

It must be only certain people who smell a smell after sneezing. I never have. What about that taste in the back of your throat when you bump your head?

gravatar srah - March 24, 2005 - 11:30 AM -

It's not every time I sneeze - just every once in a while.

I don't know if I know the head-bumping taste!

gravatar Nick Baker - March 24, 2005 - 5:34 PM -

I think it's a combination of mucus and saliva, which you expel a lot of when you sneeze. The various fluids become aerosolized, making their scent suddenly stronger and noticeable. At least, that's how it seems to me.

gravatar srah - March 24, 2005 - 5:36 PM -

Beautiful! This is a great and productive conversation topic. I should talk about mucus more often IRL.

gravatar Jeremiah - March 24, 2005 - 6:08 PM -

Obviously, it's ozone. It comes from that flash of light, like lightning. (Duh. . . .)

gravatar srah - March 24, 2005 - 7:00 PM -

Is there a flash of light when you sneeze? You might be Zeus.

gravatar neurophyre - October 3, 2005 - 11:49 PM -

The odor I smell is a sharpish, acrid/sweet ketone-like scent, and it is definitely something in the air and not an effect within the nerves or receptors in my nose.

It only happens when I sneeze violently, and if it's a huge enough sneeze, I can walk out of the room and come back in a few seconds later and still smell it in the air.

It is a -very- distinct odor which does not change, and it's been going on for 9 years.

gravatar Mills - October 11, 2005 - 4:38 PM -

Yeah, I have also wondered what that smell is. The smell I get is not pleasant at all, it is more like rotten bone smell or dried saliva smell. I am embarrassed when I do it around people. It happens rarely but the smell lingers in the air. My dog once sniffed it and looked at me in a quizzical way.

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