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COVID-19 Loss Of Taste & Smell Treatment

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A common question that I get in my practice is: what do I do about loss of smell and taste? Because you have people who have now had alterations in their smell for even up to 12 months at this point, related to a previous COVID infection. I would say first and foremost, go see your doctor - whether it be your primary care, your ENT, or a rhinologist if you have one locally - who can basically check to make sure that there's no other underlying anatomic causes of why you have this, or development of polyps or some inflammatory condition. But exclusive of that, if it really did just occur due to COVID, there are some options actually available. There's a lot of studies going on right now, including like saline irrigations, or like a nasal lavage, or a neti pot, where you just literally rinse out your nose and the mucus and all of the bacteria and kind of nasty stuff in there. Anti-inflammatories - budesonide has had a lot of studies on it, including Rhinocort, which is over the counter, or budesonide in saline irrigations that you wash your nose out - all the way up to what's called olfactory retraining. What we do there is actually stimulation of the olfactory nerve in an effort to try to get it to function appropriately again. When it gets infected by this virus, or it undergoes distortion from the virus, whether it be from inflammation or even killing parts of the nerve, what you're trying to do is to get it to function again, and so you hyper stimulate it, like you're trying to rework a muscle in physical therapy to start working again. Some of the cardinal scents that you can use are things like rose, citronelle, lemon, orange, cinnamon, and menthol - those are some of the big ones that are considered "cardinal smells" that make up a large percentage of the other smells in the environment.

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