People around the world are having their lives changed because of social distancing, but staying home isn't the only thing, many people around the world are smelling different too. According to experts by staying inside and being around the same people may change the skin's microbes causing their body odor to be more like the people they're living within the quarantine.
Many people are at home with just a few others—roommates, partners, or immediate family. If you swap microbes with a small number of people for weeks on end, you could start to smell like that other person and vice versa, said Rob Dunn, a biologist at North Carolina State University.
There is a genetic component to which microbes thrive on our bodies, said Julie Horvath-Roth, a geneticist who studies microbes at North Carolina Central University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Yet many microbes from another person should be able to live on your skin too, so the microbes you're exposed to every day matter.
“Whoever we’re spending more time with, and whichever species we’re spending more time with, we’ve upped the probability that we’re going to pass back and forth those denizens of our bodies,” Dunn said.
Sophia, a 25-year-old in Portland, Oregon, said she’s been smelling “notably worse” during quarantine.
She’s been socially isolating since early to mid March. “This is significantly different from my previous day to day. Monday to Friday I would typically be in an office of about 50 people and go to the gym or fitness studios every day," she said. Now, she only comes into close contact with her live-in boyfriend who she said (with his agreement) is more smelly than she is.