Aging Smells

August 02, 2005

I know that the usual phrase is "aging stinks" but in my case it smells. Or rather I have olfactory hallucinations now that I never had before. They're called 'dysosmia' and they can be caused by any number of physiological or neurological events. In my case I strongly suspect that sinus infection and or allergies are the root cause.

What happens to me is that I get a faint odor of smoke, like cigarette smoke or burning paper, when there isn't any smoke present. Sometimes the sensation is strong enough to make me ask Michele if she smells smoke too. The bouts of phantom smoke smell seem to correlate with sinus headaches. A quick google search or two unearthed several pages talking about this phenomenon. At least I'm not alone with this particular malady.

Of course some of the pages my search turned up are highly medical in nature and stridently urge the reader to go to as many doctors as possible as quickly as possible because the odor hallucination is almost certainly a precursor to migraines, tumors, or alien invasion.

As for me, knowing what the cause is, and being able to remedy it with an over the counter treatment, is enough. I'll leave the alien invasion group alone with their tinfoil hats.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.