Jennifer shares her office with three other colleagues. John sits just next to her. For some time now, going to the office has become an ordeal for Jennifer who seems not to know how to handle the delicate situation she is facing. The truth is that John has a very strong body odor and this is affecting all the other colleagues as well. What makes this story more pathetic is the fact that both Jennifer and John deal every day with customers.

Matt also told me about this restaurant he loves going to but has decided to stop patronizing it because of a particular waiter who simply “stinks”. Apparently, the waiter’s bad body odor can knock down a camel. He wonders how such a person could be kept as a waiter.

Well, situations such as the above are very common yet very complicated to deal with. Body odor sometimes simply called (B.O.) is the smell of bacteria growing on the body where the bacteria rapidly multiply in the presence of sweat.

Sweat itself is virtually odorless but it is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat that eventually causes the unpleasant smell.

As this is a very delicate issue, let’s assume you are ”John” here. Maybe your bad odor is creating discomfort among your friends or colleagues. It is for this reason that we all need to adopt personal hygienic standards. Have a bath at least once a day with warm water. It’s said that warm water helps kill off bacteria present on the skin. You may as well consider bathing more often than once a day with good antiseptic, anti-bacterial soaps.

Then you should also invest in strong antiperspirants deodorants. Some good home remedies for bad odor from the armpit are, lemon, white vinegar baking soda etc.

Body odor can also be influenced by diet, lifestyle, gender, genetics, health and medication. Most body odor occurs in our feet, groin, armpits, genitals, belly button, hair, ears etc. Spicy foods with curry, garlic, pepper have the potential to make some people’s sweat more pungent. Some experts even believe a diet high in red meat may also raise the risk of developing more rapid body odor.

Another solution to bad odor is paying attention to your clothing. Use natural fibers that can allow your skin to breathe and evaporate better your sweat. Change your shirts, undergarments and socks every day.

Bad odor is a challenge especially when you are at the receiving end. How then do you inform a friend, a colleague, a relative that his/her BO is a problem affecting you? Very few would be ready to talk about this issue, especially in our society here where most people do not say exactly what they think or feel.

Believe me, the best way to solve this is to be honest and tell the person directly as sometimes, the person concerned isn’t even aware of his/her problem. Calling the person aside and telling him/her in a nice way is probably the best way in helping the person find a solution. When we are not bold enough to challenge people right in front of them, we can use this other way by sending anonymous messages. I am not personally in favor of this method as nothing is better than being honest with people we live or work with. Then lastly, if the problem still persists, report the situation to the supervisors if the problem is with a colleague. Even if being the boss doesn’t make it any easier to confront employees with such delicate situations, it is the manager’s duty to make sure that all employees have comfortable, inspiring and appropriate working environment.

In conclusion, bad odor issues are sensitive but need to be dealt with seriously and tactfully as these can ruin relationships and reputation.

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