COVID sufferers who lost their sense of smell CAN have it return, an expert said.
They just need to pick up household items with strong odours like coffee, fruits, flowers or candles to smell a few times each day, Professor Rodney Schlosser revealed.
Covid sufferers who lost their sense of smell CAN have it return, an expert says
He said research is showing that Covid patients significantly improve their chances of recovering their sense of smell by doing that.
The technique to regenerate nerves can be effective for around 40 per cent of people and they can regain their sense of smell gradually within just three to six months.
And it can even help patients with regaining their taste because the two senses are linked in some ways.
The Medical University of South Carolina’s Prof Schlosser told Seconds Away: “It’s kind of like physical therapy where someone is paralysed but they go and do certain exercises and over some months they are able to regain some physical function again.
“The patient will smell odours a couple of times a day. There’s classic odours like lavenders, rose, eucalyptus.
“You can get those online. But if you don’t have the ability to get those that’s OK.
“Use things around the house like coffee, fruits, flowers, candles. Those kind of things.
“You really don’t need to spend any money on it quite honestly. Just stimulating the old factory nerves to regenerate is what the key is.”
He said people should try to smell the odour for about 30 seconds, have a break and then move onto a second odour.
And he said it is best to rotate which smelly items are used to expose the nose to the most amount of odours.
Prof Schlosser added: “It’s like working out. You don’t want to do the same exercise every day.
“It’s just a matter of being fairly consistent with it. Also, have the expectation that it’s going to take at least three months, maybe six months for this to work.
“A lot of times patients will use something for a couple of days and then they say it didn’t work.
“We’re trying to get the nerves to regrow – it’s going to take a while!”
He said that the success rate is dependent on how consistent patients are, how long they have suffered smell loss and how old they are.
It comes as the latest variant of the bug has been seen to increase the likelihood of patients losing their sense of smell.
The first wave of Covid saw more than 50 per cent of patients get the symptom, but it went down to around 17 per cent with Omicron.
However, Prof Schlosser said that it has gone back up to around half of all patients.
He said: “We know that this really impacts their quality of life. People always talk about social gatherings.
“When you’re going to go out with family and friends, if you’re unable to enjoy a nice glass of wine or enjoy the food because you’ve lost your sense of smell.
“It really leads to a lot of social isolation and depression. It definitely impacts quality of life when you have that long-term smell loss.”
Smell retraining is just one of several possible methods, with a variety of interesting things coming down the line, he said.
He added: “There are some new medications that are going to be sprayed up the nose which are getting ready for FDA trials here in the US.
“There are also really interesting and novel strategies to prevent people from getting Covid in the first place.
“One company I’m working with uses a device to try to stimulate nitric oxide, which is really unique because it has anti-viral properties.
“That would be a really interesting way to prevent Covid from ever happening and to hopefully prevent all the side effects.
“Patients should stay tuned because there’s a lot of really interesting research going on in this area.”
It comes after a study suggested one in 20 people who catch Covid will permanently lose their sense of smell or taste.
More than a million people may already suffer long-term problems, with 45million virus cases recorded up to April.
A study in the British Medical Journal estimates 5.6 per cent of patients may never get their sense of smell back, while 4.4 per cent may lose taste permanently.
Losing those senses is common while sick, but many suffer for weeks, months or even years afterwards.