Testing Smell


Anchor lead: Assessing the severity of loss of smell is possible, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Testing your sense of smell may indicate just how acute the loss might be, and could also have some predictive value when it comes to COVID-19 infection. That’s according to Andrew Lane, director of rhinology and sinus surgery at Johns Hopkins.

Lane: What you’d want to do is to ask people if they’ve had a change in their sense of smell and taste, and you’d also want to do some type of objective testing which can vary from a scratch and sniff type book where you identify the odors to breathing in odors on a almost looks like a marking pen, you can ask people whether or not they can detect it down to a lower level, determine whether someone’s sense of smell if not completely lost is partially lost. In an ideal world you would be able to put people through their olfactory Olympics. From there you could find out what its predictive value is, both for whether you have the disease or for potentially your prognosis.  :34

Lane says people can also informally test their own sense of smell at home using common things like lemons. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.