If you got an I.T. support job at a local hospital, expect to encounter a wide range of smells. That’s right—smells. Here are my top five hospital smells from uncommon to common.
5. SLAUGHERHOUSE (MATERNITY WARD)
I had to replace a PC inside a maternity room. A nurse told me that the room was ready. It wasn’t. I walked in and it smelled like a slaughterhouse. It was that bad.
4. CHOCOLATE (MICROBIOLOGY LAB)
When I replaced the PCs inside the microbiology lab, I kept smelling chocolate in the air. Many of the culture slides had chocolate agar.
What do microbiologists use chocolate agar for? Flu, pneumonia, and meningitis.
All the fun stuff that could kill you if you tasted any of the slides.
3. NEW PC SMELL (STORAGE ROOM)
For a PC refresh project, I had to open boxes for 750 PCs and 1,500 monitors. Each box had sealed plastic bags with the new PC smell inside. Opening thousands of plastic bags made me sick over time.
The hospital didn’t provide any safety equipment like respirators. A fire marshal later determined that the storage room for unboxing equipment didn’t have enough ventilation.
3. VANILLA (HALLWAYS)
The back hallways will sometimes have that scent of vanilla in the air. That meant a dead body came through on its way to the morgue.
At the hospital I worked for, the I.T. department was next door to the morgue in the basement. I smelled that scent of vanilla two to three times a day.
1. DISINFECTANTS (EVERYWHERE)
Disinfectants are everywhere at a hospital. That smell of disinfectant can be Clorox breach, Lysol spray, or Purell hand sanitizer.
A 2016 study found that a typical PC keyboard was dirtier than a toilet. Now imagine a typical PC keyboard in a hospital. Remember to use hand sanitizer before and after using a keyboard.