Genetic Risk Factor Found For Covid
Scientists are piecing together why some people lose their sense of smell after contracting Covid-19.
A study published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics identified a genetic risk factor associated with the loss of smell after a Covid infection, a discovery that brings experts closer to understanding the perplexing pattern and may point the way toward much-needed treatments.
Six months after contracting Covid, as many as 1.6 million people in the United States are still unable to smell or have experienced a change in their ability to smell. The precise cause of sensory loss related to Covid is not known, but scientists do think it stems from damage to infected cells in a part of the nose called the olfactory epithelium. These cells protect olfactory neurons, which help humans smell.
How Long Does Loss Of Taste And Smell Last
Not being able to smell or taste like you used to can be frustrating. Tasting your favorite foods and smelling fresh air makes life more enjoyable. Plus, the ability to smell harmful fumes can protect you from danger. But the duration of symptoms will depend on the cause, and its different for each person.
In aging and progressive neurological disorders, the process of losing these senses may take some time. But your sense of taste and smell may never return to what it was before. Viruses for the cold, flu, and COVID-19 can cause these symptoms to happen quickly and can last for 1 to 2 weeks. But they can last up to a few years in some cases.
Treating allergies or nasal polyps may get you back to smelling like you used to. But thats not the case for everyone, as it depends on how severe your case is.
Keep in mind that sometimes there are unknown causes of issues with smell or taste. That can make it hard to tell how long your symptoms last. To make things more confusing, some people get their sense of taste and smell back without any treatment.
Your healthcare provider can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms and determine the best options for treatment.
Surgeon General Warns Omicron Variant Has Not Yet Peaked
Certain trends also emerged among the participants who reported the loss of smell and taste: Women, for example, were 11 percent more likely than men to experience this. Meanwhile, adults between the ages of 26 and 35 made up 73 percent of this group.
The study team also found people of East Asian or African American ancestry were significantly less likely to report loss of smell or taste. The cause of this observation is not yet known, but Auton said its likely not explained by the genetic variants of this specific locus. The team also notes the study is biased toward people of European ancestry because of limited reference data.
These findings can help patients in two ways, said Danielle Reed, associate director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. She studies person-to-person differences in the loss of smell and taste due to Covid and was not a part of the new paper.
First, it helps answer the question of why me when it comes to taste and smell loss with Covid-19, she said. Some people have it and some do not. Inborn genetics may partially explain why.
The study may also help scientists find treatments. Earlier research suggests the loss of these senses is related to a failure to protect the sensory cells of the nose and tongue from viral infection, Reed said.
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How Long Does Loss Of Taste And Smell With Long Covid Last
Most COVID-19 patients will regain their sense of taste and smell after a time. One study revealed that around 80% of people who lose their sense of smell or taste because of COVID-19 recover it within six months, with adults younger than 40 specifically more likely to regain function. In long-COVID cases, however, it can take significantly longer.
Many who struggle with long COVID report loss of taste and smell lasting a year or more. Work with your doctor to determine how you can work toward restoring these senses if they dont return after a suitable period of time. Permanent loss of smell and taste can lead to serious safety and quality-of-life problems, from the inability to smell or taste harmful substances to enjoying your favorite foods, drinks, and fragrances. The olfactory senses can also be crucial in selecting a romantic partner and in maternal-child bonding.
Cleaning Inside Your Nose Can Help
Rinsing the inside of your nose with a saltwater solution may help if your sense of smell is affected by an infection or allergy.
You can make a saltwater solution at home.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh batch each day do not reuse any left over from the day before.
Some pharmacies sell sachets you can use to make a saltwater solution and devices to help you rinse your nose.
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Effects Of Losing Your Ability To Smell
For those that do lose their sense of smell for a prolonged period, there can be concerns that extend beyond the pleasure of tasting ones food.
A lot of people dont realize how much they miss their sense of smell until it is gone. For example, not being unable to smell something burning can be a health hazard, says Brian DAnza, MD, a UH rhinologist and sinus surgeon.
Smell And Taste Loss After Covid: Should You Be Worried
Since the earliest days of the pandemic, doctors treating people with COVID-19 noticed that a sudden loss of smell was a hallmark of the illness. As the vast majority of our sense of taste derives from our sense of smell, these COVID-19 patients also may have experienced a loss of taste as well.
After recovering from COVID-19, many patients fail to recover their sense of smell right away, and some may worry the situation could be permanent.
A recent study has encouraging news for these patients. The results showed that nearly all patients who lost their sense of smell after having COVID-19 regained the ability.
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How Common Is This Symptom
The reported prevalence of a loss of smell and taste with COVID-19 varies greatly across studies.
A recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings took a deep dive into how common a loss of smell or taste is in COVID-19. Researchers reviewed results from 24 studies, which represented data from over 8,000 people with a confirmed case of COVID-19. They found the following:
- The reported prevalence for loss of smell ranged from 3.2 percent to 98.3 percent. The average prevalence of loss of smell was calculated to be about 41 percent.
- The reported prevalence for loss of taste was between 5.6 percent to 62.7 percent. The average prevalence for loss of taste was calculated to be about 38.2 percent.
- Older age correlated with a lower prevalence of loss of smell or taste.
- No difference in the prevalence of either symptom was seen in men versus women. However,
If you believe that you may have COVID-19, stay home and try to isolate yourself from others in your household.
Contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Your doctor can also advise you on getting tested and how to care for yourself if you test positive for COVID-19.
Most of the time, mild cases of COVID-19 can be treated at home. However, in some cases the illness can become more serious. This is more likely in older adults and in individuals with certain underlying health conditions, such as:
Why Do People With Covid
Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, there is an emerging consensus that smell loss occurs when the coronavirus infects cells that support neurons in the nose.
When researchers first identified smell loss as a symptom of COVID-19, they were worried that the virus was infecting the odour-sensing neurons in the nose that send signals to the olfactory bulb in the brain and that the virus could therefore access the brain. However, post-mortem studies of people who had had COVID-19 have shown that the virus rarely reaches the brain.
A team led by Sandeep Robert Datta, a neurobiologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, has instead found that cells that support sensory neurons in the nose known as sustentacular cells are probably what the virus is infecting.
Datta and his colleagues zeroed in on sustentacular cells because SARS-CoV-2 attacks by targeting a receptor called ACE2 on the surfaces of cells, and sustentacular cells have many such receptors. Olfactory sensory neurons do not. This suggests that the coronavirus infects the support cells, leaving the neurons vulnerable and deprived of nutrients.
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Is It Possible To Retrain Your Nose And Get Back Your Sense Of Taste And Smell After Covid
Dr. Jennifer Reavis Decker at the UCHealth Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, has helped her patients, some of whom are children, to retrain their sense of smell by using strongly-scented essential oils . It is called olfactory retraining.
The sense of smell is closely linked to memory, she says, especially pleasant memories. Thats why using peanut butter or peppermint candy with children makes more sense than something like the odor of clove or jasmine, of which they typically have little memory or, surely, pleasant ones.
The cookie recipe here is peanut buttery but not overly sweet, so not to distract the palate from tasting sweetness over the nut butters aroma. The ginger-based shot is powerfully aromatic and flavorful. When swallowing, be sure to push some air up through the rear nasal cavity so that you get a strong smell of it, too.
Testing For Loss Of Taste Or Smell
To test for a loss of taste at home, a person should try foods with strong seasoning and check whether they can detect any differences between the flavors.
A person can test their sense of smell by choosing two items with strong and contrasting aromas, such as coffee granules and an orange, and smelling them individually to see whether they can detect any differences.
AbScent, a United Kingdom charity for people with smell or taste problems, provide a useful checklist that a person can use to assess and track their smell loss at home. If anyone wants to use the checklist to monitor a loss of taste, they can apply the questions to taste instead.
Doctors use different tests to diagnose a loss of taste and smell. To diagnose a loss of taste, they
- choosing meals with a variety of colors and textures
- using aromatic herbs and spices for stronger flavors
- adding cheese, bacon bits, olive oil, or toasted nuts
- avoiding meals that combine many ingredients, such as casseroles, as these recipes may dull the flavor of each individual food
Some people may benefit from smell training to help their sense of smell return sooner. The training involves smelling four scents for about 20 seconds each per day. Concentrating on each smell could help with recovery. A person could apply this training to taste by choosing different flavors of foods.
People struggling with a loss of taste and smell may also benefit from joining online support groups and forums.
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How To Regain Your Sense Of Taste And Smell After Covid
Were told that SARS-CoV-2, like its cousin the common cold virus, will be with us for a long time How odd that it remains the new coronavirus, two years on.
And that means that, for certain persons, its symptoms will occur for a long time, too. For the cook, the most telling symptom is the way COVID-19 sometimes wipes out a persons sense of taste or smell, sometimes both.
This came home to me because, over the past two years, both my son, Colin, and one of his closest friends, Dan Murray, a Denver small business owner, both suffered total losses to their senses of smell and taste. In both cases, they also attempted to retrain those senses by using strongly-flavored and -scented food.
After about two weeks, said Murray, I got back around 25 percent. In probably six weeks, 80 percent. At first, all I could feel on my tongue was textureno taste. It was like wearing a surgical glove on my tongue.
I did two things, said Murray. I ate Hot Tamales and, every morning for weeks, I went to an organic juice shop near work and got a shot of their ginger-apple cider vinegar juice. It was daily training. He used it as a test, he said, until I made a bitter beer face, a kind of squinty tart face.
How Long Should I Continue Scent Training
While doctors advise their patients to do smell training twice a day for three months, the timeline can vary for each patient. Do it for as long as you need to and:
- Record each training session on a calendar to help make the training a habit.
- Keep a diary of your experiences from each session.
- Join an online community of peers for support and encouragement.
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How To Regain Sense Of Smell After Covid
The symptoms are usually temporary, with most medical publications agreeing that a patients taste and smell significantly improve or return within four weeks.
However, if youre trying to move things along quicker or yours still has t returned, the NHS suggests that cleaning the inside of your nose can help.
As per the website, rinsing the inside of your nose with a saltwater solution may help if your sense of smell is affected by an infection or allergy.
You can make a saltwater solution at home, or check with a pharmacy for ready-made products.
The steps for cleaning out your nose are:
- Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
- Mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda into the water.
- Wash your hands.
- Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
- Sniff some of the solution up 1 nostril at a time and let it run out of your nose. It might help to hold your other nostril closed with your finger as you sniff.
- Repeat these steps a few times to see if it helps.
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What Is The Standard Covid Incubation Period
For previous variants of Covid-19, such as Alpha and Delta, the World Health Organisation said symptoms could begin to develop anywhere between two days and two weeks after infection.
However, the incubation period for Omicron and its offshoots is believed to be much shorter between three and five days.
It is believed people are at their most infectious one to two days before the onset of symptoms, and during the two to three days afterwards.
Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Dr Allison Arwady told NBC: As weve seen these new variants develop Delta, now Omicron what were seeing is everything gets sped up.
It is taking less time from when someone is exposed to Covid to potentially develop infection. It is taking less time to develop symptoms, it is taking less time that someone may be infectious and it is, for many people, taking less time to recover. A lot of that is because many more people are vaccinated.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said in December: Recent analysis from the UK Health Security Agency suggests that the window between infection and infectiousness may be shorter for the Omicron variant than the Delta variant.
Data shows that the majority of people are no longer infectious seven days after beginning to experience symptoms or first testing positive, particularly when vaccinated, and the vast majority are no longer infectious after 10 days.
Among those symptoms are:
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Treatment For Loss Of Taste Or Smell
Other suggestions from the NHS include special training to treat the issue.
A treatment called smell training can also help some people. To find out more about smell training, the NHS suggest visiting:
- Fifth Sense: smell testing and training
The NHS advise seeing a GP if your sense of smell does not go back to normal in a few weeks.
How Can I Regain My Sense Of Taste And Smell
Smell training has emerged as an increasingly viable solution for those with prolonged anosmia, parosmia, and ageusia. It involves sniffing several potent scents twice a day to stimulate, improve, and hopefully restore your sense of smell.
While theres no exact formula for scent training, experts suggest:
- Keeping your scents easily accessible.
- Smelling each scent for about 20 seconds .
- Taking short sniffs rather than deep inhalations.
Experts also recommend choosing four strong, distinct, familiar scents that evoke intense and vivid memories. You can use soap, shampoo, cologne, food, spices, flowers, or similar items.
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