Imagine spraying perfume and expecting to smell your favorite scent, but instead, you smell nothing. Due to the spread of the coronavirus, you might immediately think you have COVID, but is it really the result of a COVID infection or something else? While loss of smell is a symptom of COVID-19, one expert says you shouldn’t panic — there are a variety of other possible causes.
What’s really causing your loss of smell?
“It can be due to nasal or sinus inflammation, or other viral infections distinct from COVID-19,” explains Dr. Bobby Tajudeen, director of rhinology, sinus surgery and skull base surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
“And it can even occur as a result of some neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s or dementia, or vitamin deficiencies. Rarely tumors can present with smell loss,” Tajudeen adds.
Loss of smell is most often the result of inflammation caused by sinusitis, polyps in the nose, and even allergies, and the loss of smell can be progressive.
How do you treat loss of smell?
Your sense of smell helps you enjoy life. Being able to smell the aromas of your favorite foods or the fragrance of flowers can bring joy to your life. So not having it probably has you wondering what you can do to gain this vital sense back.
Treating the inflammatory condition can restore your sense of smell, Tajudeen explains in a medical center news release.
However, if you experience a sudden loss of smell, you may have a viral condition.
“Usually when people have a cold, they have congestion and a runny nose, and they can’t breathe through their nose,” Tajudeen says. “At the base level that usually causes a temporary reduction in smell. However, once the congestion resolves, in patients with viral-induced smell loss, their smell does not recover.”
With COVID-19, loss of smell is