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Smell Training can help to Recover Loss of Smell in COVID-19 Patients

The new study finds a helpful way to regain the loss of smell caused by COVID-19 through smell training. The loss of smell is medically called ‘parosmia’ during which people are unable to smell good fragrances instead they find all fragrances unpleasant or don’t experience any smell at all. Even their favorite food smells like rotten food, petrol, or any other horrible thing. Many COVID-19 patients have experienced this same condition. But otherwise, this condition only shows up in head injuries patients and rarely with a viral infection.

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A newly published study shows that parosmia or loss of smell can be improved through smell training. The study was conducted by the Technical University of Dresden (Germany) along with the University of East Anglia (UK) and other international partners from the UK, Austria, and Poland.

Smell long is so common among COVID-19 patients that the majority of them experience it along with other primary symptoms such as dry cough, breathing problems, and a high fever.

This smell loss is not improved even after recovering from COVID-19 which frustrates the patients. As per recent estimates, thousands of COVID-19 survivors are living with a loss of smell even after beating the virus.

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Some of them experience a partial loss of smell while for others it is a complete inability to smell anything or smell something unpleasant every time. A person having parosmia can find a cinnamon stick smell like petrol or rotten food.

Smell training can provide real help to regain the sense of smell. It is a small individual exercise that can be practiced at home. The patient is asked to sniff four to six different fragrances 2-3 times every day. It may take weeks or months but it does help in regaining the ability to smell.

This is a simple and risk-free technique to introduce yourself to the fragrances again. The purpose of applying this technique is to use the brain’s natural neuroplasticity which helps to reorganize the brain functions after a drastic change for example in case of an accident, injury, or disease.

This is not a new technique and is already practiced by trauma patients to regain their smell loss but the purpose of this study was to estimate its benefits for COVID-19 patients.

The study used data from 143 participants all of which experienced a loss of smell after recovering from a disease. Note that this study was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic so the researchers were not studying it with reference to the coronavirus only.

They were asked to try a number of training kits using different fragrances such as honey, chocolate, thyme, rose, lavender, lemon, etc. The participants were asked to describe if they are able to differentiate the fragrance at the start of this study and six months later.

The results obtained after six months showed that this simple smell training helped them to get over a loss of smell an inability to differentiate between fragrances. Based on the results of this study, the health experts are hopeful that smell training will also help to recover loss of smell in COVID-19 patients.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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