Tag Archives: stinky fellow travellers

Who’s a good dog?

Here’s a new way they can possibly detect COVID at airports. The old sniffer dog routine. In a recent article by Michelle Robson the possibility of sniffer dogs for COVID is explored –

“Dogs have already been proven to detect various human diseases such as cancer merely using their sense of smell. A 2019 study showed that dogs could use their highly evolved senses to pick out blood samples from people with cancer with almost 97% accuracy. A dog’s nose has 300 million scent receptors, compared to 5 million in a human. This means they can detect many odors, such as drugs, explosives, and food. This makes dogs a common site in airports where they are often walked up and down a queue of passengers to detect illicit substances. In the UK, a project backed by the UK government has started to train dogs to detect COVID-19 positive patients by smell.” (Michele Robson-Forbes Magazine).

Having a dog sniff around you might be way better than having someone stick a long ear bud up your nose or down the back of your throat. I guess what would happen is that if the dog detects you have COVID then you may have to go through the ear bud test just to be sure. But hang on a minute – is one breed of dog better than another? Well the answer is yes apparently. The blood hound is said to be the best and why not? That’s what Sherlock Holmes used to help him solve those mysteries. So it is all about the sense of smell and which dogs have the best. Mr Bloodhound comes first on that list.

It’s all to do with those long floppy ears and the ridges and wrinkles on Mr Bloodhound that make him such a good sniffer dog. They all help to waft the smells up his nose. In fact the bloodhound is often described as a nose with a dog attached. Their sense of smell is so acute they can pick up a scent that is 12 days old. They won’t need that skill at the airport though.

The strange thing is that if you have COVID somehow it changes your body odour – and that’s what the dogs pick up on. In fact they are so good at this that they can sniff up to 750 people per hour.

I wonder when Mr Bloodhound goes home at the end of his shift if he complains to his buddies about having had a hard day at the airport and what the different people smell like.

So this is a good thing to consider. Is this animal abuse? After some of those long flights people can get pretty stinky …. not everyone … but I am sure you have come across this in your flying lifetime. Some people are nervous flyers and then they might get a bit smelly due to anxiety or perspiration. But there are lots of other smells that seem much more obvious in an enclosed space.

Oh, and don’t eat beans. “Your body actually becomes gassier in an airplane due to the increased cabin pressure,” says Samantha Morrison, a health expert for Glacier Wellness. “This effectively causes gas in your intestinal tract to expand and cause uncomfortable bloating and flatulence. While there’s no perfect solution, your best bet is to stay hydrated and avoid foods which can cause gas, such as beans and vegetables.”

So after hours of this poor Mr Bloodhound gets to sniff your bum while he checks out if you have COVID. He may discover that he doesn’t like your deodorant (or lack of) but you will be happy when he gives you the all clear and goes off to sniff the next bum.

Poor Mr Bloodhound! What a job!

I read it in the guidebook – I promise

Go to any book store and there is a whole dedicated area relating to travel.  Guide books galore on a whole host of topics and destinations crowd the shelves making the choice bewildering.  With rapidly changing cities and transit systems some guide books will be outdated even before printing but some travel advice never changes – even throughout the ages.

Medieval historian Elizabeth Archibald offers up some amusing bits of handy travel advice relevant to the 14th Century gleaned from early guide books.  Such tips include the following gems –

“It is also required of the pilgrim to patiently and discreetly put up with the stupidities and imperfections of his fellow pilgrims and companions.”
(Us air travellers could take a pinch or two of this advice.)

As to shopping…. “niceties of Indian, Persian, and Turkish workmanship that they will show you and that you will want to buy, as much to hold on to the memory of the holy voyage, as to share it with your friends. And what you have bought will give you irritation and hardship to bring home.”
(Mmm – yes people – we have seen you on the flights home with overweight luggage and impossibly large carry on)

And what about seat selection – bearing in mind that the long distance form of transport was generally by ship … so the advice was to choose a seat on the top deck as the bottom one was “ryght smolderyng hote and stynkyng.”  

What would those medieval travellers think of today’s guide book gems of wisdom –

Back up all your documents and keep a spare USB …

Take lots of photos …

And keep a journal to record all your experiences

The  more things change the more they stay the same.