10 Top Tips if you’ve lost your sense of smell after a virus
by Chris Kelly, Founder, AbScent
Try not to panic. Most post-viral smell loss is temporary, though some cases do last longer.
See a doctor. Seeking medical advice is important at this stage. Because of a lack of awareness of smell loss issues, not every doctor knows a lot about anosmia. You could download and take the discussion sheet with you.
Be a good observer. Take note of what is happening to you. Maybe keep a diary. Try to remember the course of events. Record your medications, whether you were using nasal sprays, and how often. Make observations about the quality of any smells you can perceive. Are they totally absent, distorted, disgusting? Both nostrils or one? Is there a change at different times of day, or in special circumstances?
Join our forum. Finding someone to talk to who has a shared experience can be a powerful tonic.
Get informed, but don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Beware of taking your views from single individuals just because their story is like yours. Everyone’s journey is different. Try to read widely and get your information from fact-based websites. There are no quick fixes for anosmia, so be sceptical of anyone who is offering to cure you.
Smell loss can get you down. It’s normal to experience feelings of alienation, depression and negativity. It doesn’t affect everyone this way, but for many people it’s a reality. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your feelings – as well as family members or a trusted friend. Get support if you need it.
Don’t try new therapies without talking to your own doctor. On many websites you will read about new procedures or drugs that are being tested. Not all drugs are advisable for everyone and many have side-effects. Only your doctor will be able to help you decide what is best for you.
Try smell training. There is sound scientific research to support this relatively new therapy. Smell training has now been shown to be of use not just for people who have had a virus, but for head injury patients as well. It’s not a cure, but a way of amplifying and rebuilding any recovery you may experience.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who find their positivity draining away, find out what it is that makes you feel even a bit better, then do it.
And most important, if you experience recovery, come back to your support groups and tell them your good news! The recovered often ‘disappear’, and their voices are not heard. They are out there but may have sniffed their way off into the sunset.