Retraining your nose can help with smell loss due to COVID, experts say

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:19 PM CDT
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(CNN) - If changes in your sense of smell went along with your COVID-19 infection, you’re not alone. Health experts say you can retrain your nose to regain your sense of smell.

Nearly one in five adults who have been infected with coronavirus still have long-lasting symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those suffering report a wide range of symptoms, but one of the most common is loss of smell.

”Up to 90% of people had some loss of smell,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital, said.

But most people get the sense back. A study published in August shows around 90% of people with mild COVID before the omicron variant, who lost taste or smell fully regained their senses within two years.

However, others are still suffering from the effects. Health experts say the loss of smell is not because of congestion, but rather it is because of a change inside the body.

”This virus actually affects the cells that are directly responsible for your sense of smell. Way up at the base of your skull, at the base of your brain. What happens is that not only do you lose your sense of smell initially, but 3 to 4 months later when these cells are supposed to redivide, you could lose your sense of smell again,” Gupta said.

Health experts say you can retrain your nose to regain your sense of smell and there are four scents that can help: rose, eucalyptus, clove, and lemon.

A research article published earlier this year suggests essential oils with those scents may help a person recover the sense of smell by stopping inflammation and helping cells regenerate.

“Use your nose to smell these scents over and over again, and you could slowly, potentially, start to regain some of that smell over time,” Gupta said.

Researchers say other essential oils that are known to have anti-inflammatory effects may also help with smell recovery as well.