Coronavirus: Can COVID-19 give a distorted smell?

Sun Online Desk

23rd March, 2021 02:16:24 printer

Coronavirus: Can COVID-19 give a distorted smell?


Novel coronavirus is known to cause a multitude of symptoms that could impact your vital sensory organs and functioning.

Experiencing a loss of smell can be common, which has been now declared as a classic sign of infection.

Not only can it be disturbing to not be able to smell anything, but it can also persist for a long time after recovery. Some experts believe that it could take weeks or months, and require smell training exercises to retrain the brain to sniff scents again.

COVID survivors may get 'phantom' smells

However, there's another catch here. While it may be eventually possible to get your senses back, for some COVID-19 survivors, it could come back as an altogether distorted smell.

In what is being believed to be yet another confusing sign of long COVID, distored, or phantom smells could be the newest intriguing sign of post-COVID-syndrome to be aware of.

What do COVID long haulers go through?

While some patients can have a difficult time recognizing the smells or odours, for some, COVID may end up inducing a lot of different, mostly unpleasant smells which may not be actually there.

From smoke, rotten vegetables, foul food, vinegar, faeces, strong pungent chemicals to garbage, people suffering this unfortunate problem have gone on to elaborate the different kinds of smells they may suspect distinct odours which might not be there in the first place and take a while to vanish.

It has also been seen that distorted smell doesn't impact every patient of long COVID. What exactly causes it in the first place isn't clear yet. It just feels like a phantom occurrence, something which isn't really there but is strongly felt by the person without a reason.

Unrelated to COVID, phantom smells could also be triggered by underlying neurological deficits, or lifestyle problems including sinusitis, Parkinson's, head trauma, deficiencies or even poor dental hygiene.

Are there remedies to help you get your senses back?

Though there's no guaranteed evidence available at this point in time, doctors say that a trivial symptom like this could linger for long, and may return 6-8 weeks since it goes away on its own after recovery in most cases. Nonetheless, there are some remedies you can try to rewire your olfactory senses and regain a sense of normalcy.

Using a saline solution to rinse or clear nasal passages, engaging in smell training exercises could help alleviate your symptoms by a bit.

(Times of India)