Regaining sense of smell after COVID

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- “There are a couple of different mechanisms but it’s primarily an injury where the smell nerves come into your nose and it typically resolves by itself,” said Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon Dr. Sims. 

Dr. Sims says many people who have had Covid also experienced a loss of smell. Most lose it temporarily, but some struggle for weeks, even months after they are Covid free. 

“Patience is the main thing. It will come back in almost all cases. But if you want to do something you can do what we call olfactory retraining,” said Dr. Sims. 

Dr. Sims did olfactory retraining with WNKY 40’s Lexi Schweinert on Wednesday using sniffing sticks, which are an objective way to test someone’s sense of smell. Schweinert lost her sense of smell from having Covid in February. 

“Once we establish what the patient is here for, we’ll choose four of these smelling sticks and we’ll present them to the patient and see if they can smell,” said Dr. Sims. 

Schweinert was able to smell two of the four sticks. 

And he said you can do olfactory retraining at home as well.

“You can take essential oils or some type of smell stick and you can challenge your nose with scents that you know so that you have a memory of that smell and you can challenge it every day, 2 or 3 times a day.”

He also said not to worry…smell will usually come back sooner than you think. 

“We tell patients it’s usually going to come back within a year. Some of the specifics related to Covid are that 5% have loss of sense of smell for over six months. 80% of all Covid patients have a loss of sense of smell and only 15% of patients will have a loss of sense of smell for over 60 days,” said Dr. Sims.