By Jana J. Pruet~
The smell of coffee brewing in the morning, chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, or the essence of a freshly squeezed lemon are just a few of the scents we often take for granted — until they suddenly disappear. That’s what happens to many affected by COVID-19.
Anosmia, or loss of smell, is one of the most common and frustrating symptoms associated with the virus. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, about 86% of those with mild cases of COVID-19 reported olfactory dysfunction. This condition can last for days, weeks, or even months after recovery from the virus, but 95% of patients recover their sense of smell six months post-infection, according to the study. Some patients need help prodding their sense of smell to return with some training techniques.
If you’re among those whose smell hasn’t returned after COVID-19, there’s good news: “Smell training” with essential oils may help improve or restore olfactory function. Smell training is easy and safe. And, according to the United Kingdom-based organization AbScent, it can be done at home using four different fragrances.
✿ Put together a basic smell kit of rose, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus essential oils.
✿ Find a quiet place where you can concentrate without disruptions.
✿ Take one of the oils, open it, and hold it close to your nose.
✿ Breathe deeply for 20-30 seconds. Concentrate on the fragrance you are smelling.
✿ Repeat the process with each oil.
Repeat this process a few times daily until your sense of smell has fully returned. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can find them online or in your local health food store. You may also use spices or herbs, but essential oils are believed to be more effective since they are highly concentrated.
It’s not fully known why smell is affected by COVID-19, but some researchers believe the virus infects support sensory neurons, known as sustentacular cells, in the nose.
Initially, doctors feared the loss of smell might be caused when the virus reaches the brain. However, post-mortem studies have shown the virus rarely reaches the brain in people who had COVID-19, according to a report in www.Nature.com.
Your sense of smell plays an important role in your daily life: It can affect your mood, memory, productivity, and taste. Your smell can also alert you to dangers, such as fire, gas leaks, or spoiled food. If you experience a sudden decrease or loss of smell, contact your healthcare provider. It could be a symptom of COVID-19 or a different serious health condition.