4 questions about loss of taste and smell COVID

Loss of smell after corona (covid-19) is unfortunately now a well-known and worldwide phenomenon. Loss of smell and taste are common symptoms of a corona infection. After you have recovered from the infection, it does not always mean that you will immediately regain your sense of smell and taste. ENT doctors and scientists are busy looking for the cause and its progression. More and more studies are now being published on this subject and more and more is known about the connection between corona and loss of smell. On this page we answer 4 frequently asked questions.

1. I have loss of smell. Can I be infected with COVID?

Yes, that’s possible. Estimates vary, but it’s believed that as many as 96% of COVID-19 patients experience some or total loss, but it’s usually temporary. Most regain the sensation within weeks. The loss of smell and/or taste can therefore certainly indicate that you are infected with the coronavirus. It is important that your nose is not blocked by a cold, as it is then impossible to say for sure whether you are suffering from a loss of smell.

2. Will my sense of smell be restored?

Often yes, but that is not always the case. In some people, the sense of smell returns naturally after 2 to 4 weeks after infection. In about 50% of all cases, the sense of smell will fully recover during this time. After eight weeks, 76% of infected people have fully recovered. ‘Poor’ 4% experienced no improvement after eight weeks.

Loss of taste is also a consequence of loss of smell. Many people can still experience flavors with their tongue, but no longer receive the smells through the nose. As a result, the taste is no longer properly linked to the smell, which results in a different experience of the food.

3. When should I go to the doctor due to loss of smell?

Loss of smell is a clear consequence of Corona, in some cases it may take a while before the sense of smell is fully restored. If the smell has not returned after 4-8 weeks, it is advisable to see a doctor. Your GP can refer you to an ENT doctor for further advice and examination if desired. Since loss of smell is a topic that has received a lot of attention in recent years, fortunately the knowledge about the sense of smell among (GP) doctors has also increased.

4. What can I do about loss of smell?

The first tip: be patient. Restoring the sense of smell takes time. In addition, you can try to speed up the process of regaining your sense of smell by doing smell exercises (olfactory training or olfactory therapy). Through smell training you ensure that recovery is supported, improved and accelerated and that your nose learns to recognize odors better again. Olfactory training is not a medicine but a way to accelerate and stimulate the recovery of the sense of smell. To carry out smell training you can use an smell training set, read more about smell training and our smell training kits through the following link: all about smell training
Order our smell training kits

In most cases it is advisable to start smell training after corona if your sense of smell has not returned after 4 weeks. This has also been included in the COVID-19 medical guideline in the Netherlands since the beginning of 2022. Doctors recommend smell training for patients who have persistent smell or taste complaints for more than 4 weeks after COVID-19.

And what about loss of taste?

Changes in the sense of taste often occur in combination with loss of smell. This may involve the following changes:

  • Loss of taste (you no longer taste the basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami), also called ageusia.
  • Taste distortions (tastes are perceived differently, often very bad), also called parageusia.

Loss of taste is less common than loss of smell. Can you still taste the basic flavors salt, sweet, bitter and umami on your tongue? Then you are most likely dealing with a loss of smell and not a loss of taste. Loss of taste is probably caused by the virus being in the saliva, which affects taste transmission. It is not (yet) entirely clear how this works exactly.

Smell training kit

reuktraining ethersiche oliënAre you looking for the smell training kits? You can order the smell training set with 4 Sniffin’ Sticks (Smell Quartett) or the set with 4 essential oils via our webshop. These standardized sets are supplied in a box including a English manual. We have these sets available from stock as standard and can help you restore your sense of smell.