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I smell exhaust fumes all the time

I have been smelling exhaust fumes where none exist for about 2 weeks now. I can be in the shower or laying in bed and the smell won't go away, it smells like i'm in an enclosed garage with a gas powered vehicle running. Is this common?, I have never had any allergies.
220 Responses
214105 tn?1265938759
Hopefully this will go away soon but if not you should see an ENT doctor (otolaryngologist).
Avatar universal
That's odd. I've heard of people smelling burning toast or marshmallows when they have a brain tumour but not this so I doubt it is what's wrong with you but I don't know for sure just haven't heard of this. Is it always in your home you smell it as you only described laying in bed or being in the shower I assume you mean in your home if that's the case it may not be medical issues you have it could just be an odour within the home get the gas company to send a guy out they have a device that detects gas in the air. If this sounds wrong then you probably should see a doctor also try cleaning your nostrils with a flannel it sounds silly but who knows you could have an oily substance on the hairs that you only smell sometimes when there is no other odours over powering it.
1337210 tn?1275784082
Jerry, I am astounded to find your recent query because I am just about to post the SAME DAMNED THING!
Have been totally perplexed by the smell of exhaust -- like walking past an idling bus, or being in a car that's burning oil that's got its heater/ blower turned on. Day, night, lying down, sitting up, with other people around, by myself, in the car, outdoors.
My situation has been going on constantly for the past week or so, but I think it is not the first time. But now, there seems to be a bit of a throat scratch with it, so I wonder if it is a sinus infection. I have heard it may be serious to experience olfactory hallucinations, but don't want to anticipate anything worse than this is.
Would like to keep in touch, and know how you've progressed since May. Thanks, Alice1952
It's uncanny, but I've been experiencing the exact same thing. It doesn't matter where I am, in my home, outside, in the car at others homes.
We'd just bought a new car and having the flu at the time, was when I first started experiencing this and thought nothing of it. At first it smelt like burning engine oil, but for they past 2 weeks it's smells like exhaust fumes. The odd thing is, I can't smell or taste anything. One thing I can taste is salt. Odd as it sounds
Avatar universal
The condition is called phantosmia.  It is not "normal", but it is a named medical condition.

It is usually caused by  some sort of trauma or a sinus infection or other upper respiratory illness.  Tumors are another possible cause, but not always.  Exhaust is not a typical odor to experience, but burning wood is very normal. Exhaust is a close smell.  

As the first poster said, you should see an ENT to rule out any serious problems.  Few drs are familiar with this disease, so you might want to do some research and print out a few articles before you head to a dr's office.

I hope that helps you all some.  Here's to better smelling.
Avatar universal
For the past few weeks, I have been smelling exhaust fumes, at home, at night while working on my hobby.  Now, today the odor has hit me while at work.  I don't have any sinus pain.  At home I thought it was a car outside, since the windows were open.  Another thought, some one was burning wood in a fire pit (in the neighborhood).  Now at work, 3 floors up?
Avatar universal
I have been smelling something ever once in a while just while I'm in my house though.  I can't really describe the smell except to me it smells like charcoal.  It seems like I notice it more when I'm around my computer, but then I can also smell it in the living room and when I go to bed sometimes.  This has been going on for over a year, but I only notice it when I'm at home.  I just wander if there is some chemical in my house.  It has to be hidden somewhere, because I have used all toxic-free cleaning products and laundry products for over 15 years.  I even have an air purifier in my house.
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