What does insulin smell like to you?

I was talking to a few peeps about this some say it's an awful smell some think it is pleasant.

Just about everyone has something else they think it smells like.
Like " a hospital" or "burning plastic" "bad cologne"

I have always referred to it as concentrated BAND-AID extract. Fresh from the box of course.

It seems to me that all insulins smell the same, although perhaps a "pepsi challenge" type blind smell test is in order.

What does your nose tell you?

For a long time I thought it just smelled "mediciny" or like Band-aids. But after reading the book Breakthrough, I've changed my way of thinking. Now it just smells like LIFE. Life in a bottle.

Wood smoke probably from the phenol and cresol preservatives.

I think it smells like paste, the kind some of us ate in elementary school

I agree.. hospital and band aids.


Like you, I smell concentrated Band-Aid extract as well. Occasionally I still sniff the rubber stopper just to get a whiff and be transported back to a another time and place. It's a comfortable smell, one I'm familiar with.

Actually it smells like phone poles..... because they are treated with creosote, which is closely related to the cresol antiseptic that is added to ALL insulins for our safety. Cresol kills more germs than anything else with no danger to us.

I was actually looking at my Apidra vial the other day AMAZED that such a small amount of liquid keeps me alive for weeks. It's really mind-boggling.

I do think insulin smells like a hospital, though (or Band-Aids, too). It would be interesting to ask someone who isn't around it daily and see what they think.

ok acidrock, you can't say something smells like itself. If you had never smelled it before, how would you know that?

It smells like: I just dropped my only vial on a hard tile floor in a public bathroom.

That's exactly 100% what the smell is associated with in my head!! Memory goes back ... at least 25 years.

Ever since then, when I get just a little whiff, that's the picture in my head. It's astonishing how effective that is. And BTW, I can usually find a better place to shoot up than a public bathroom today, but 25 years ago I wasn't so wise.

Smells like cork to me. Maybe a little like scotch.

I agree with Theodore. I don't think insulin itself necessarily has a smell, but the preservatives do.

Now, what I want to know is what is that "taste" I sometimes get after I inject?

The next time I see a phone pole, I'm totally running up to it and taking a big whiff. I'll let you know what I think!

The hospital smell is just the alcohol swab. Insulin itself smells like dough in art class. I used to hate its smell at first but I’ve gotten used to it. And as you said, how can you hate something that keeps you alive?

That’s funny. :smiley: Howit triggers the memory and all.

That may not be the answer you are looking for, but I agree with acidrock on this one. It smells like insulin. I never thought it smelled like anything else. Just insulin. It's not an awful smell or a pleasant smell...just an important smell.

I don't mind the smell, but my daughter hates it. If I forget to rinse the sink out after I prime my pump she will run over there and rinse it. I think the smell reminds her that I have an illness and it is scary to kids. Even though I'm pretty well controlled, she has seen a few lows.

She thinks it smells like " half way melted crayons, the kind that make you sad that they are ruined"

Band- Aids always made me feel like things were going to get better. Maybe that's why I think of it when I smell insulin.

Does anyone know or remember what untreated animal insulin smells like? I never thought of additives being what I am smelling.

The sense of smell is supposed to be the sense that is most closely related to memory, That's what I learned in Elementary school anyway,

1 Like

I too have always though of it as Band-Aids.

Which reminds me that the first time I had Lagavulin -- which was I think the first time I had any really intense peaty Scotch -- I described it as "redolent of band-aids". (Don't think I pleased the dinner party host.) I wasn't a t1 then. Now I'm really wondering... does Lagavulin smell like insulin? Is that "ulin" no coincidence??? If one of you is a fancypants scotch drinker with a bottle in the cabinet, take a whiff and let me know....

To me insulin smells like "Damn it!" because when I or my husband smells it there is usually some problem with a pump connection leaking or that I unhooked and forgot to re-hook.... I don't like the smell at all - too chemical-y. Yet scotch smells great. Weird