Loss of Smell and Covid

January 19, 2021

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Anchor lead: Can smell training help people who’ve lost their sense of smell due to Covid recover? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Not only is loss of smell and taste a prominent symptom of Covid-19, for a sizeable number of people that loss continues long after they’ve recovered otherwise. Andrew Lane, an otolaryngologist at Johns Hopkins, says there is one strategy that may help.

Lane: Olfactory loss has been around before there was Covid. People have lost their sense of smell due to viruses, that’s a well-known entity. More than 10 years ago there was a series of studies that were published about olfactory training, which is a couple times a day, sniffing a series of odors, essential oils. Over a period of months improvement was seen in a patient’s sense of smell. It isn’t necessarily that it brings your sense of smell back to being normal, it’s just there’s evidence that it improves from what it was before you started doing it.  :29

Lane says persistent loss of smell, and loss of taste that frequently accompanies it, can compromise someone’s quality of life over time, so attempting to retrain this ability is likely worth trying. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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