Loss of Smell

Millions of people testing positive for Covid-19 have lost their sense of smell.

Have you survived covid-19 and now experience anosmia

The reduced sense of smelling medically called olfactory dysfunction is common in COVID-19 patients. The potentially devastating loss of the sense of smell or olfactory dysfunction was not so widely recognised and was previously overlooked as a public health problem.

 Olfaction refers to the sense of smell and arises from the complex interaction between odorants and the sensory receptors in the cribriform plate, which is in the roof of the nasal cavity and makes up what is known as the “olfactory epithelium”. Bipolar sensory receptors transfer incoming signals through a series of neurones to reach the temporal lobe of the brain known as the primary olfactory area, where the conscious area of smell begins. The primary olfactory area also has connections with the frontal lobe, which is involved in odour identification and discrimination.

A new Study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that 86 per cent of people who suffered mild Covid-19 symptoms experienced anosmia compared with just four to seven per cent of moderate to severe cases.

Anosmia is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. This loss may be temporary or permanent. Common conditions that irritate the nose’s lining, such as allergies or a cold, can lead to temporary anosmia.  And now with the majority of those surviving Mild Covid-19 symptoms, experiencing anosmia, its becoming important to document their symptoms and phases of recovery.

Is the loss of smell permanent

During the study, People self reported their symptoms and documented their progress.  Most people reported that this olfactory dysfunction lasts for 21-22 days. But one third said that they are were unable to get their loss of smell back even after two months of recovering from the virus.

Specific Anosmia/Parosmia facebook groups are now available to provide support for anyone suffering with a loss or distortion of their taste and smell as a result of Covid.

What we found in these discussion groups is that people had recovered 100% from Anosmia, only to then find a couple of weeks later that they had Parosmia which is a disorder that affects your sense of smell by misinterpreting it. Your brain takes in the information of the smell, but it doesn’t recognize it.  Today a new member of the group said

“Had covid back in November and lost taste/smell for about 3.5 weeks. I got it back 100%, then all of a sudden about 2 weeks ago everything started tasting rotten/rancid! It seems as if everyone had this happen when they got their taste back, and not what happened with me, regaining 100% for about about a month and a half and then it changing.”

This group felt encouraging with lots of encouragement from fellow members and techniques for coping, food recommendations and tactics for “smell training”

What's the future look like for COVID19 survivors with Anosmia or Parosmia

For survivors of Covid19, many are being left to manage their symptoms ongoing as a chronic illness.  As with any chronic illness this means a journey to diagnosis and ongoing tactics to manage your health.  As you will be the messenger in communicating your history, it will be decrease your time to be diagnosed if you can remember how long the Anosmia and parosmia has been occurring and what treatments you have tried.  If you haven’t already start tracking your symptoms in Wanngi.  Using the timeline and health history report will compress your time to get diagnosed.  As early sufferers of Covid19, the health information you have captured will also be useful if you are asked to undertake any clinical trials which could improve your health outcomes.