Loss of taste and smell with COVID-19

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  • 3 years ago
Dr. Raman Abrol
ENT Specialist / otorhinolaryngology

Loss of taste and smell with COVID-19

Let’s address the issue that the covid patients have been through, which is loss of taste and loss of smell. Not everyone must’ve had it, but again it depends upon the severity of the disease. About 60 – 70% of the covid patients suffer from loss or change of smell and loss or change of taste. 

This happens because the coronavirus affects the nerves. The portal of entry is the mouth or nose, which are responsible for taste and smell, respectively. So the nerves of the taste and smell are affected by the coronavirus. The duration of the effect is not yet precise. 

Smell and Taste Disorders

According to our clinic experience, 50 – 60% of corona patients with loss of smell and taste have recovered in about one month without any treatment.  Because the virus becomes ineffective and gradually, the inflammation of the nerves also gets better. But we have seen patients whose sense of taste and smell loss have not recovered even after 5-6 months of getting corona. 

Treatment for loss of taste and smell

We do not have the same treatment to manage this, and the research is still in progress. There are a few medicines that could be prescribed to the patient and put him on treatment. There are a few nerve supplements that can be given to the patient. These medicines may not work for some patients. But my message is that you should not panic as this problem eventually goes away. The time period of recovery may vary from person to person. It may take one month. For some, it may be 2-3 months. 

I’ve come across a couple of patients who have not recovered for over 7-8 months but are better than before. So it is expected that they will recover eventually. So it is essential to address this misconception. This loss of sense and taste goes away with time. 

Parosmia and Hyposmia

Some patients experience a change in smell. The smell doesn’t go away but changes. It is a dirty smell, even when they eat. All this is also a part of the coronavirus affliction. And this is called parosmia. Anosmia is a complete loss of smell. Hyposmia is when a person loses part or all of their sense of smell. And parosmia is when your sense of smell is distorted. All three of these conditions are seen in patients post covid in the past year and a half. 

These conditions are not severe, and there is nothing to worry about. They usually get better on their own. But the time period is very difficult to predict.  But in the coming time, more research is being done, and hopefully, we will know more about these conditions. 

Thank you. 

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