Introducing NoseWell, the new out-of-clinic service for anosmia
It’s fair to say that over the last couple of months, GPs and ENT clinics have been inundated with patients asking for answers about how to restore their sense of smell. Based on latest data, around 50 percent of people with COVID-19 lose their smell and taste. Fortunately, many recover after two or three weeks, but there are tens of thousands of people still wondering months later when they will ever be able to enjoy life to the full again.
With less than 12 months of data about this virus available, doctors just don’t know with any certainty how long recovery will take. However, while research to understand more about the condition continues, ENT consultants agree on the simple and safe actions people can take to help themselves. These are smell training, support groups and maintaining good hygiene in your nose.
The British Rhinological Society (BRS) approached AbScent to commission an online programme that doctors and consultants can refer patients to. The result is NoseWell, a free resource that guides you through all aspects of COVID-19 smell and taste disorders.
As well as information about some of the common symptoms, particularly dealing with unpleasant smells known as parosmia, NoseWell also focuses on smell training. Smell training, demonstrated to be effective in supporting the recovery of smell, is a practical activity that helps to rebuild the connections that enable us to perceive smell. Although it’s hard to believe something so simple can help, scientific studies and peer-reviewed research hold smell training up as an effective way to support smell recovery.
Another commonly reported difficulty is getting other people to understand the anxiety and misery that a life without smell can mean. This is why NoseWell encourages interaction with other people in the same boat, and signposts to the online groups that have been so helpful for so many.
NoseWell will also take you through the basics of good nasal hygiene. Regular use of a nasal rinse will ensure the nose is kept clear and healthy, and some patients who have been prescribed steroid sprays will find a useful guide to using them effectively.
As yet there is no cure, and realistically, still many unknowns. But while the researchers work away in the background, NoseWell has all the tools to manage your own recovery. It can’t take away the ups and downs of living without smell, but it is a resource that doctors and patients can rely on.