Everywhere you smell it, you can smell it
In March 2020, after being diagnosed positive for nCoV, Sophia Ankel (UK) began to lose her sense of smell and taste.
“It was a bizarre experience because at the time, the loss of smell or taste – had not yet been officially recognized as a Covid-19 symptom.”
So when her nose started to recognize some scents three months later, she was in high spirits. But what she didn’t know was that this was when she had another serious problem.
“For over a year now, my nose has been smelling what I call the ‘Covid-19 smell.’ The ‘Covid-19 smell’ is unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. But when I tried to describe it to my friends, I explained it was the stench of garbage, raw onions and armpit sweat,” she said.
The scientific term for this olfactory distortion is parosmia, which is caused by damage to the olfactory cells in the nerve center.
|Sophia Ankel has a problem with her sense of smell after recovering from Covid-19.|
This condition is annoying and has greatly affected Sophia’s daily life. The smell of onions and garlic fried in olive oil filled the kitchen that was once her favorite scent, but has now turned into a “Covid smell”.
A cup of smoky coffee in the morning – sounds appealing but now also turns into “Covid smell”.
A huge, beautiful rose bush in the park near my house but also turned into “Covid smell”. The scent of her husband when he hugged Sophia also became the “Covid smell”.
“It has affected my life. Although I consider myself lucky to not have severe symptoms of health after being cured like more than 2 million adults in the UK, my life has not been easy,” she shared.
But Sophia finds solace in knowing that she is not alone.
Many patients recovering from Covid-19 also share the inconveniences in life due to Parosmia syndrome. One woman told the New York Times she was in therapy after her condition prevented her from kissing her husband. Another said she couldn’t cook if she didn’t want to vomit, according to the BBC.
The exact number of people with this syndrome is unknown, but a study published in July 2020 found that 89% of people who lost their sense of smell due to Covid-19 recovered within 4 weeks, the remaining 11%. report persistent or persistent loss of smell.
Another review from February 2021 found that of 47% of Covid-19 patients with changes in smell and taste, about half reported being suffering from Parosmia syndrome.
Carl Philpott (Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia) said: ‘Failure to smell food can become a major problem, leaving patients with nutritional problems such as weight loss. It can also lead to feelings of depression and isolation.”
Philpott established the Smell and Taste Clinic at James Paget University Hospital (in Great Yarmouth, England) to help people with this syndrome. He is part of a group of scientists who are studying Covid-19 symptoms.
However, a study published last month suggested that the loss of smell due to Covid-19 will eventually improve.
Philpott claims that while 90% of people have the ability to smell again within a few weeks of infection, it can take up to three years for others like Sophia.
Smell training can help with recovery
While there’s currently no treatment for this syndrome, one way to speed up recovery is to start practicing your sense of smell, says Philpott.
While not a cure, olfactory training is a form of physical therapy for the nose. It requires you to work with different aromas to stimulate and amplify the nerves in the nose.
Early studies show that it is more effective if patients exercise and recover with the scent of clover, eucalyptus, lemon, and rose.
“It’s been almost a year since my sense of smell is broken and I’m not sure how long this will last, I’m looking forward to the morning when I can drink a cup of coffee without holding my breath,” Sophia said. .
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