Westfield Public Health Bulletin: Virus can have long-term effects on sense of smell

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A couple weeks ago we talked about pizza and the loss of the sense of taste. Imagine a spring day driving over the bridge into downtown. Your windows are open and the sumptuous smell of pizza cooking wafts from local pizzerias. And you wonder what you should have for dinner tonight … decision made.

Now imagine you cannot smell. Another common and unique symptom of COVID-19 is loss of smell. Loss of smell without a stuffy nose is called “anosmia.” Not only is loss of smell an emotional loss, it puts one at risk for injury. Smells are attached to memories, emotions and taste. The inablility to smell smoke, gas, fumes and bad food could cause some major problems.

Loss of taste and smell was less prevalent in the omicron variant. But millions suffered or are still suffering from it. It is thought that 30%-75% of COVID-19 patients lost their sense of smell. Recovery can be one week to years.