Ah, the smell of rain after a long dry smell.
Or so I thought.
Today I walked out of class to this smell but it start to really kill my sinuses. I got an instant headache and my nose started burning. This was one INCREDIBLY strong rain smell.
Petrichor is the name for the scent of rain on the dry earth. We all know the smell. In fact there are a few smells most commonly associated with the smell of rain.
“Petrichor, the name for the smell of rain on dry ground, is from oils given off by vegetation, absorbed onto neighboring surfaces, and released into the air after a first rain.” Matthew Bettelheim; Nature’s Laboratory; Shasta Parent (Mt Shasta, California); Jan 2002.
So it is an oil the plants. But this isn’t the most common smell actually,although it is the most pleasant has been actually made into perfumes and candles.
The most common and powerful smell is caused by bacteria! (This is the one I was smelling today)
Actinomycetes, a type filamentous bacteria, grows in the soil during the time that the ground has been moist and warm for a while. (It’s definitely been that here). When the ground dries up completely, the bacteria produces spores in the soil. When the rain comes down, it stirs up all these bacteria spores into the air and causes a kind of aerosol (You know, like a can of SeBreeze, Glade, or whatnot. Since the air is so moist, all of these spores are carried throughout the air and we take it up our nostrils easily.
“These spores have a distinctive, earthy smell we often associate with rainfall. The bacteria is extremely common and can be found in areas all over the world, which accounts for the universality of this sweet after-the-rain’ smell” (How Stuff Works, Question 479)
I think I might be allergic to these bacterial spores because of my reaction to it. I still kind of feel it, it burns alot. My sinuses were definitely acting up alot (which they rarely do) and I got dizzy and an instant headache. Darn rain.
Who knew you could be allergic to the smell of rain?
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