Held on the last Saturday in April, National Sense of Smell Day celebrates one of the five senses. Our sense of smell is more than a way to know when dinner is ready. It also plays a role as an early warning system, triggers memories, and interacts with our other senses.
Did you know, scent cells renew every 30-60 days and are the only sense nerve cells that can regenerate. Those scent cells allow us to recognize smells from childhood, triggering memories of Play-doh, grandma’s cookies or pipe smoke. It’s also the only sense directly connected to the brain where all those memories are stored.
Take a woman when house shopping. She’s more likely to smell unwelcome odors such as smoke, pet urine, or mold before a man. Women naturally have a better sense of smell.
While the loss of smell occurs naturally with age, it can also be a sign of illness, especially a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease or an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
A human’s odor is like a fingerprint. Even when we wear deodorant or fragrances, our scent combines with those for a unique combination. Babies recognize the smell of their mothers. Spouses know the scent of their partners, too.
HOW TO OBSERVE #SenseOfSmellDay
Museums, children’s museums, and science centers across the country participate in celebrating this holiday by offering hands-on activities and informational displays about the sense of smell.
For fun, do a smell test at home. Collect items such as the ones listed below. Place a small amount of each item in individual containers. Cover them with a cloth and then take turns blindfolding family members to see if they can pass the smell test.
- lemon peel
- vanilla extract
- coffee grounds
- flower petals
- someone’s soap
Use #SenseOfSmellDay to post on social media.