How to Regain a Sense of Smell After Covid?
Since the onset of the whole COVID pandemic, it has been discovered that the loss of the sense of taste and smell are symptoms of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most COVID patients who fully recover from the sickness quickly regain their sense of taste and smell upon healing, but others are not so lucky. Some patients experience a prolonged loss, reaching up to a year or two without regaining their sense of taste and smell.
That is not all. Having loss of taste and smell after COVID may be an unpleasant condition to be in, but a fraction of COVID victims have it worse. Some people suffer from COVID-19 parosmia after they recover from COVID. Parosmia is a condition where a person develops a warped sense of smell. Enjoyable odours become unpleasant and unbearable. Parosmia is not exclusively caused by COVID as it can be caused by many things like respiratory infections, seizures, and brain cancer or tumours. Parosmia after COVID has been reported by COVID patients, and others even report having a weird smell in nose during COVID.
However, parosmia can be treated. More than half of COVID recoverees who get parosmia report regaining their normal sense of smell after 18 to 24 months.
Why Do People Lose a Sense of Smell After Covid?
COVID is a respiratory ailment, and these types of ailments tend to disrupt or damage olfactory or smell receptors. When your smell receptors are damaged, they may not be able to interpret the array of smells, and that is what causes the loss of smell during COVID. Your sense of taste may be impaired, too, during COVID infection. Since the taste of food is heavily influenced by our sense of smell, our sense of taste will also suffer. This is comparable to when we get cold, only much worse.
Is It Possible to Get a Sense of Smell and Taste Back?
As any recoveree can say, the COVID loss of smell can be quite unnerving. During this time, the world will have no smell or taste, however hard you try to sniff and taste anything. It may feel that your sense of smell will never come back, but you should find solace in the fact that this is only a temporary condition.
As a person recovers from a COVID infection, their body normally repairs whatever damage their smell receptors sustain. Some may take several days, some may take weeks, and some may take a year or even a year or two to fully regain their sense of smell and taste.
Contracting COVID is always a difficult ordeal. Losing your sense of smell and taste may be incapacitating, but with a little patience and some processes to speed up your recovery of taste and smell, you will be fine.
Can Parosmia Be Treated?
Sadly, there are no known and effective ways to treat COVID-caused parosmia yet. But many suggest that therapy is an effective way to regain a normal sense of taste and smell. Smell therapy and eating simple-tasting, room-temp food seem to be the best ways. Here is an enumeration of these therapeutic ways and how you can practice them after you have recovered from a COVID infection:
- Smell therapy – This therapeutic process involves retraining your smell receptors to recognize smells as they normally would. To do this, smell pleasant but strong-smelling smells such as cloves, cardamom, citruses, mint, and eucalyptus. Just remember to choose natural scents and not artificial ones. Artificial scents may further damage your olfactory receptors instead of healing them. Do this practice two to three times a day until your sense of smell recovers fully.
- Eat food cold or at room temperature – Hot food is often steamy, and steam can trigger your parosmia. Avoid hot food entirely and stick to eating cold or room temperature food until you fully recover from COVID-induce parosmia.
- Be COVID-free – As COVID can cause parosmia, avoiding reinfection is also key in healing from it. Make sure to have a regular lateral flow test at home. Now that a free lateral flow test order from the UK government is harder to obtain, you may want to get them from reliable but affordable suppliers.
Healgen tests and Flowflex antigen tests are proving to be the cheapest reliable brands of LFTs priced at only a fraction of any other leading brand of LFT you can find today.
- Simple or bland food – Eating simple-tasting or bland food may help your condition as these types of food will be comfortable to eat. Tasty foods may be overwhelming for parosmia sufferers as strong aromas and tastes trigger parosmia to warp normal tastes and smells. Stick to bland food until you recover fully and regain your sense of taste and smell.
How Does Losing One’s Sense of Smell Affect a Person?
Losing one’s sense of smell is not a fear anyone normally thinks about. But in this new normal where contracting COVID is still a very real possibility, losing one's sense of smell and taste for a prolonged amount of time is a really scary prospect.
Losing your sense of smell is a very unnerving situation. Upon confirming that you have lost any capacity to taste or smell anything, you immediately fear the worst and think, “What if I never get them back again?” You immediately miss all the delicious tastes and smells that you have taken for granted! You dread, “Will I ever enjoy my food again?”.
Stick to the Plan!
Recovering your sense of taste and smell will rely on how soon your olfactory receptors hear and remember to function properly. You may help this process by sticking to the therapeutic practices regularly. Hang on in there, and you will get everything smelling and tasting like normal in no time.