Is body odor contagious?

Last week while using public transportation, a fellow two seats away from me reeked of body odor. While disgusted, it really didnt bother anything but my nostrils. As I reached my destination, the foul stench seemed to have stuck onto me as if it was I who was foul smelling.

As a habitual bather, I found this rather revolting, to say the least.

Is there a way to transmit body odor, and if there is, how can it be done?

I’ve always wondered what degree of body odor is caused by bacteria that colonize your skin versus the odor of your natural secretions. (Eww!) If bacteria have a significant role in BO, then it stands to reason that close contact with people who are colonized with particularly odious bacteria can change your natural skin flora and make you stink as well.

Likely the odor stayed with you mentally for a bit or hung around in your nose and gave you the impression it was travelling with you or “on you.” Add that with the social anxiety of the body odor issue (if you a bit prone to social anxieties), and you may have developed that fear.

There was a documentary done on this subject around 10 years ago.

After being around people who are smokers, although not smoking while with me, the smoke smell will get in my hair and on my clothes. Many smells are particulate.

I have noted being in a home with a fireplace/wood heat, I pick up the smell and transfer it to my vehicle. I guess I might be sensitive to the wood smoke smell, fortunately I like it.

As for the BO thing, Ewwwww.

Yeah, but that’s because smoke is getting in your hair and clothes. BO doesn’t smoke!

No, I specificaly said they were not smoking with me. It’s just the smell in their clothes and hair.

Can other people smell the smoke in your clothes and hair?


How do you know? BO could be a particulate smell just like smoke. The odour is quite possibly carried through the air in sweat droplets and dander emanating from the person.

Projectile sweating?

I was thinking more along the lines of evaporation.

Shouldn’t have hugged him.

Technically, *all *odor is particulate in nature. It is the way odor is perceived in our olfactory sensors. Different molecules have different shapes, and certain receptors react to the presence of these molecules with a cascade of biochemical and electrical impulses which our brains interpret as “odor.” When we inhale, millions, perhaps billions of molecules of an odor-producing substance are taken into the sinus cavities. Some are immediately perceived and the brain processes the smell. Other molecules may be roaming around for hours before they alight on a complementary receptor and register the smell.

As well, these molecules fill the air around an odor source (your BO Buddy, for example) and most likely impregnate your clothes and hair. Hours later, you may still be registering that smell.

So every time the local sewage-treatment plant is having an ‘odour event’ (their official term), we’re getting pelted with shit? :slight_smile:

I used to live between a treatment plant and a large commercial bakery. Sometimes I’d exit the apartment and smell chocolate-chip cookies. Sometimes not.

Indeed. And, when your dad exits the bathroom after a 15-minute session, and you can smell the after-effects, well, that does, indeed, mean that you are inhaling tiny bits of poo. :eek:

Jerry thinks it’s an entity:

See post 4.