How Do Doctors Treat A Loss Of Smell Or Taste
When possible, your healthcare provider will treat the problem thats affecting your senses. If youre taking a supplement or medication that can affect your senses, you may need to change it to see if that heightens them. Unfortunately, people dont always get their sense of smell or taste back.
You can take these steps to make meals more pleasurable:
- Add small amounts of strong cheese, bacon or toasted nuts to dishes.
- Use aromatic herbs, seasonings and spices to boost flavor.
- Serve foods that have different textures and colors.
- Skip dishes like casseroles, which combine a lot of foods, because the mixture dilutes flavors.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
You should tell your healthcare provider if you experience a loss of smell or taste. While it can be normal, especially as you get older, these symptoms can sometimes indicate a health problem or a medication side effect. Treating a health condition or changing medications may help you regain some or all of your lost sense of smell or taste.
How Do Illnesses Like Covid
Some viruses damage olfactory sensory neurons, nerves that help you smell. It may take months to recover from this damage. And being sick can make it hard to smell if your nose is stuffed up. With COVID-19, more than 8 in 10 people may briefly lose their sense of smell. Along with it, they lose their ability to taste. Researchers are still trying to determine how and why the COVID-19 virus affects smell and taste. One study suggests the virus doesnt directly damage olfactory sensory neurons. Instead, it may affect cells that support these neurons. Once the infection goes away, the olfactory nerve starts working properly again. Most people regain these senses within 60 days of recovering from COVID-19.
How Can Dysgeusia Be Treated
Treating loss of taste means treating the underlying condition thats causing it. That could mean getting your dry mouth or infection under control or changing your medication. Vitamins and zinc may also help in a small number of people, Dr. Stewart said.
Dysgeusia may be a sign of an underlying, potentially serious medical problem, so if it doesnt clear up on its own in four to six weeks, you should get it checked by your doctor.
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Can Loss Of Smell Or Taste Cause Complications
When your sense of smell or taste declines, meals lose their appeal. Eating too little can put you at risk for malnutrition, dehydration and unhealthy weight loss. To give food flavor, you may add too much sugar or salt. These additions can increase your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Lack of smell and taste puts you at risk for food poisoning because you cant tell when foods have spoiled. You also may not be able to smell fire and smoke, natural gas or harmful chemicals in your home or surroundings.
A lack of appetite combined with an inability to smell pleasurable scents may contribute to depression.
How The ‘surprise’ Finding On Loss Of Taste And Smell Was Discovered
Dr. Vinetz says he was originally motivated to look into camostat mesylate after he saw an April 2020 study published in Cell that showed how this medicine could prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering cells.
Dr. Vinetz recruited several colleagues to collaborate, including Anne Spichler Moffarah, MD, PhD, an infectious diseases specialist, and Gary Desir, MD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. Geoffrey Chupp, MD, director of the Yale Center for Asthma and Airways Disease, ran the clinical trial.
The Phase II randomized trial enrolled 70 participants who tested positive for COVID-19 within three days of starting the study. Participants took the medicine four times a day for seven days.
Although the trial was stopped once it was clear that the main objective of reducing viral load was not occurring, the researchers think the surprise findings about loss of smell and taste warrant additional study.
My daughter had COVID a year ago and she still has trouble smelling and tasting things, says Dr. Desir. This drug seems to be able to modulate that loss of smell and taste. It has very few side effects and has been studied extensively. This could be the type of treatment that is given to someone with COVID at the onset of the infection.
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Loss Of Smell And Covid
Take-home message:-30 to 80% of people with COVID-19 report loss of smell, known as anosmia.-The likely targets of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are supporting cells in the nose that support growth of the nerve cells that allow us to smell-Anosmia treatments being studied include: Retraining the brain to smell, calming nasal inflammation and finding ways to regrow damaged nasal cells
One year, my dad came down with a terrible cold and a very high fever. As with many colds hed had before, he lost his sense of smell. But this time, it didnt come back.
So while losing your sense of smell seems like a mere inconvenience, if you cant smell a gas leak or smoke from a fire, or even food that has gone bad, it can quickly turn into a life-threatening condition. Or how about a new parent who can no longer smell their new baby? Many of lifes pleasures come from enjoying specific smells and losing this sense can be devastating.
When the SARS-CoV-2 virus arrived last year and became a global pandemic, many people who were infected reported losing their sense of smell. It was such a common complaint that it was added to the list of symptoms used by the CDC to diagnose the disease. Anywhere from 30 to 80% of people who test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 have reported loss of smell, known as anosmia.
Not your typical cold-related loss of smell
Relearning how to smell
How Does Permanently Losing The Chemical Senses Affect A Person
Although the condition is not as well studied as the loss of other senses such as vision and hearing, researchers know that the consequences can be severe.
One effect is that it leaves people vulnerable to dangers such as food poisoning and fire. For instance, people with anosmia are less able to detect spoilt foods and smoke. A 2014 study found that people with anosmia were more than twice as likely to experience a hazardous event, such as eating spoilt food, as people without smell loss.
Other effects are more difficult to measure. Most people dont acknowledge the importance of smell in their lives until they lose it, says Moein. Being unable to appreciate the flavour of food is obviously a major loss, but other sensations are important, too. Hayes points, for instance, to the loss a parent would feel if they couldnt connect to their child through the newborn baby smell. And Moein says that smell dysfunction has been linked with depression, although the biological mechanism involved is unclear.
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Researchers Are Exploring Therapies To Recover Smell And Taste
People who have lost their sense of taste and smell because of COVID-19 and who want to try taking an active role in recovering can experiment with a few strategies, at home or with their physician.
I tend to use a saline rinse with a small amount of steroid in it that helps to reduce some of the inflammation around the olfactory bulb and nasal nerves, Del Signore says, describing a method he is exploring but that has not yet been extensively studied. Nasal rinses typically need to be prescribed, although neti pots can be over the counter, he adds. Theres also interest in looking at fish oil and omega-3 vitamins and the anti-inflammatory properties of those as being helpful with sense of smell issues. Were running a trial at Mt. Sinai to see if fish oil and omega-3 combinations help with the sense of smell.
Ligia Cristina Monteiro Galindo
dPhenotypic Plasticity and Nutrition Studies Unit, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil
eGraduate Program in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Phenotypic Plasticity, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Vitória de Santo Antão, PE, Brazil
fDepartament of Anatomy, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil
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Viruses That Cause The Cold And Flu
Viruses that cause the common cold like the rhinovirus or common human coronaviruses and the flu infect humans through the nose and mouth. They can cause swelling in the nose. And they can even damage the lining of the nose to the point where some people lose their sense of smell for a few years. But most people eventually recover. In general, youll get back to smelling and tasting normally once the infection has resolved.
So how might you know that your loss of smell is caused by the flu or a cold and not COVID-19? Typically a cold will cause more nasal congestion or runny nose. Keep in mind that this isnt always the case, as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 causes similar symptoms to a cold or flu. So the best way to tell the difference is to get a test for COVID-19.
What Happens When You Lose Your Sense Of Taste
When you eat or drink something, your taste buds pick up the chemical information in it and they send information to your brain. Any problems along this pathway can cause problems with your sense of taste. Your taste buds and your nerves have to be functioning properly, and your mouth and tongue need to be moist to transfer the taste chemicals to the taste buds.
Some common causes of dysgeusia are:
- Medications that dry out your mouth or change your nerve function
- Diseases and conditions such as diabetes and low thyroid levels, which alter nerve function
- Throat or tongue infections that coat the taste buds
- Viral infections, including COVID-19
Dysgeusia can affect your taste in different ways. It can lower or eliminate your ability to taste in the five taste categories: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory. It can alter the way you taste, so sweet foods might taste bitter, for example. It can create phantom tastes, where you perceive a taste that isnt there.
The senses of taste and smell are closely linked, and most of the time when people complain about losing their taste the problem lies with their sense of smell. We have all experienced this when we get a bad cold and foods dont taste right, Dr. Stewart said. Aroma is a very important component of taste. He points to brewing coffee and frying onions and bacon as good examples of how aroma and taste are intermingled.
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Can The Moderna Covid
There is a remote chance that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergicreaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour aftergetting a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination providermay ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring aftervaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include: Difficulty breathing
New Study Tests The Senses
The study enrolled 813 healthcare workers from the Quebec National Institute of Public Health four months after they tested positive for COVID-19. Five months after they were diagnosed, the subjects were asked to complete a home test that assessed their ability to taste and smell.
Additionally, an online questionnaire asked the participants to self-report any issues with smell and taste, as well as self-rating their senses from a scale of 0 to 10 .
About 71% of healthcare workers lost their sense of smell when they first tested positive for COVID-19. Five months later, 51.2% of the people in that group had not recovered their sense of smell. Based on the results of the home tests, 18.4% of the subjects showed a persistent loss of smell.
Approximately 64% reported losing their sense of taste when they had COVID-19. Five months later, 38% of the group said that they had not recovered their sense of taste.
Healthcare workers ranked their ability to smell an 8.98 out of 10 before becoming sick, a 2.85 during infection, and a 7.41 5 months after recovery. The ranks for their sense of taste were a bit higher, at 9.20 before infection, a 3.59 during infection, and an 8.05 5 months after recovery.
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How Is Loss Of Smell Or Taste Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam and ask about other symptoms like nasal congestion . You should tell your healthcare provider about any recent respiratory infections, head injuries or other problems. They also need a complete list of medications and supplements you take.
You may see an otolaryngologist . This healthcare provider may give you a smell test. You sniff and identify different scents. Or they may have you sniff a chemical. Your doctor dilutes the substance until you can no longer smell it.
For a taste test, you may sample substances applied directly to your tongue. Or you may sip different flavored liquids and spit them out. Your healthcare provider may increase the strength of the solutions or ask you to note differences between different flavors. Depending on your symptoms, your healthcare provider may order imaging tests of your head and brain. A CT scan or MRI can identify cysts, tumors and other problems.
Why Do Some People Lose Smell Taste From Covid
A mechanism has been identified that may explain why some people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell, according to research published Feb. 1 in Cell.
Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Columbia University, both based in New York City, explored the molecular consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection in golden hamsters and olfactory tissue taken from 23 human autopsies.
They found that the virus indirectly decreases action of olfactory receptors, which detect the molecules associated with odors. According to the study authors, COVID-19 appears to cause longer-lasting disruption in chromosomal regulation of gene expression that could prevent the restoration of olfactory receptor transcription even after the virus is cleared.
The study may also shed light on other neurological lingering effects of COVID-19 such as “brain fog,” headaches and depression.
“Our findings provide the first mechanistic explanation of smell loss in COVID-19 and how this may underlie long COVID-19 biology,” said co-corresponding author Benjamin tenOever, PhD, professor at NYU Langone Health. “The work, in addition to another study from the tenOever group, also suggests how the pandemic virus, which infects less than 1 percent of cells in the human body, can cause such severe damage in so many organs.”
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Dysgeusia: What To Do When You Lose Your Sense Of Taste
Lately, weve heard a lot in the news about losing your sense of taste. Thats because dysgeusiathe medical condition where you cant taste, or you cant taste properlyis a key symptom of COVID-19 infection.
But COVID-19 isnt the only medical condition that might cause your sense of taste to disappear. Bruce Stewart, MD, an otolaryngologist at Banner Health in Tucson, AZ, shared more insights with us about this condition.
Accelerating Smell And Taste Recovery After Covid
Many children whove contracted COVID-19 experience changes in their sense of smell while the virus is active in their bodies and for some time afterward. Older children are the most likely to notice and verbalize this change. They may say their favorite foods dont smell the same or taste as good as they used to. As humans, our ability to perceive flavors depends mostly on our sense of smell when olfaction is altered, taste is affected.
While there are not yet any clinically-approved methods to reactivate a childs sense of smell after COVID-19, there is evidence that shows olfactory training to be helpful in speeding recovery from smell loss due to other causes.
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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.
Why Am I Losing My Sense Of Smell
According to Tajudeen, smell loss is most commonly caused by nasal and sinus inflammation. This inflammation can occur due to sinusitis, polyps in the nose and even allergies. It can act as a barrier for smell molecules to enter your nose, meaning you cant physically pick up the smell.
These types of conditions can cause a progressive loss of smell, too. You may notice a gradual decrease in your smelling abilities over a span of several years due to the built-up inflammation in your nose.
This type of smell loss is actually the easiest to treat, Tajudeen explains, because doctors are able to treat the inflammatory condition, enabling you to regain your sense of smell.
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Olfactory Support Cells Not Neurons Are Vulnerable To Novel Coronavirus Infection
This article is part of Harvard Medical Schools continuing coverage of medicine, biomedical research, medical education and policy related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the disease COVID-19.
Temporary loss of smell, or anosmia, is the main neurological symptom and one of the earliest and most commonly reported indicators of COVID-19. Studies suggest it better predicts the disease than other well-known symptoms such as fever and cough, but the underlying mechanisms for loss of smell in patients with COVID-19 have been unclear.
Now, an international team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School has identified the olfactory cell types in the upper nasal cavity most vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Surprisingly, sensory neurons that detect and transmit the sense of smell to the brain are not among the vulnerable cell types.
Reporting in Science Advances on July 24, the research team found that olfactory sensory neurons do not express the gene that encodes the ACE2 receptor protein, which SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter human cells. Instead, ACE2 is expressed in cells that provide metabolic and structural support to olfactory sensory neurons, as well as certain populations of stem cells and blood vessel cells.
Some studies have hinted that anosmia in COVID-19 differs from anosmia caused by other viral infections, including by other coronaviruses.
Smell loss clue