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Loss of Smell

By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.
David Tojo, M.D.

Losing the sense of smell or taste has been a key symptom in COVID-19. However, this diagnosis occurred long before COVID-19. Anosmia is the term for lack of smell; often this is accompanied with lack of taste, called ageusia.

The smell receptors in the nose pick up scents and send these signals to the brain which identifies the odor. Potential causes of smell loss may include:

  • COVID-19: The covid virus became notorious for affecting individuals’ sense of taste and smell. The virus disrupted the sensory receptors in the nasal passage from sending signals to the brain. Some individuals recovered their sense, others continued to experience loss of smell months after testing positive for COVID-19. Many benefited from Smell Retraining Therapy. See one of our ENT Physicians to see if this is right for you.
  • Upper Respiratory Infection (URI): Due to nasal drainage usually seen with URI, this can cause a physical blockage in the nose. Most times this may resolve after 5-7 days. If the symptoms last longer, seek an evaluation with our ENT Physician.
  • Allergic Rhinitis: If your cold/nasal congestion persists for longer than a week or occurs seasonally, it may be allergies. An ENT Physician can help identify environmental allergies and create a treatment plan for you.
  • Rhinosinusitis: AKA sinus infection. If your sinus cavity has a bacterial infection this can cause nasal congestion, facial pain and pressure, and headaches. At the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center, we have an in-office CT scan to evaluate the sinus cavity. Often an antibiotic is prescribed for the infection. A sinus infection is considered chronic when it persists for more than 3 months. In addition to an evaluation of your sinus cavity, the ENT will look for nasal polyps contributing to the continued infection.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, call our office today at 847-685-1000.

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