Covid is often associated with loss of smell and taste. But even after recovery from corona disease, it can happen that you can no longer smell or taste. That could have serious consequences, according to a new guideline for healthcare providers. There is often something that can be done – see these tips.
People who recover from Covid often recover with difficulty. This difficult recovery has been given a name: CAS, or COVID-19 Associated Syndrome. Long Alliantie Nederland has issued a guideline for CAS for healthcare providers. The characteristics include shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness, and sleep disorders, but also long-term loss of smell and taste. The consequences of this can be serious: ‘If the loss of smell and taste lasts longer, this can lead to a reduced food intake, which may lead to weight loss, malnutrition, and loss of muscle mass. This hinders a good recovery. Loss of smell and taste also often leads to a reduced quality of life, according to the guideline.
But what about this loss of smell and taste in covid? Will it go away or is it permanent? Is only the smell affected, or also the taste? This is often difficult to distinguish for someone it happens to. What scientists in any case think is that the loss of smell is not due to a blocked nose in corona infection. Either way, it can be very sad not to be able to smell or taste. Partly thanks to the corona outbreak, there is more attention for loss of smell and taste, which is also called ‘the neglected child of the senses’. For example, a major study is underway at Wageningen University.
Train your sense of smell
Unlike, for example, hearing loss, or impaired vision, the sense of smell can be restored by training. So try to consciously smell a number of scents every day, such as rose, lemon, a jar of cloves, or a bottle of the cleaning agent. You can also try the app called reuktraining.nl from the anosmia association. You buy a set of scented pens or essential oils and start practicing on the instructions of the app and thus also contribute to research into smell and loss of taste.
Participate in research
Wageningen University WUR is conducting research into smell and taste loss in the coronavirus in worldwide collaboration. You can still participate by filling in a questionnaire on the website. It contains questions such as ‘did you experience chili pepper as more or less spicy’, ‘does waste smell less bad than normal’. Loss of smell and taste can also be due to other diseases, such as hay fever or diabetes, so this is also asked.
Go to the doctor
A visit to the doctor can be an important step, because as mentioned, loss of smell can also be a symptom of another disease, such as diabetes, hay fever, but also Parkinson’s disease. It is useful to have this investigated. The ENT doctor can further investigate the loss of smell and taste. This website of ENT doctors contains more information about how the loss of smell and taste works exactly. Finally, since 2015, the Gelderse Vallei Hospital in Ede has had a special outpatient clinic for smell and taste disorders, where you can have your loss of smell and taste further investigated.
Smell and loss of taste come in many forms. The anosmia association has a lot of clear information about this. There is also a beautiful booklet that can be downloaded for free with stories from people who can no longer smell or taste, entitled ‘Behind glass’. You can find it at www.reuksmaakgedrag.nl