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Loss of smell and taste?

What controls smell and taste? What causes Covid-19 to make someone lose these senses?

I am assuming the lungs or brain in general do not control smell and taste (apart from recognition/identification). So, did those who have this side effect have it because all of their 'pores' on the surface of the tongue and nostrils were clogged with Covid or burned out by Covid? If Covid flew in fast and true beyond the nose and tongue I am guessing it might not cause the smell and taste side effect? Has anyone extensively interviewed (weeding out the psychosomatic suggestibles) Covid patients for specifics about which smells, which tastes, perfume food sweet salty sour fatty alchoholic etc?  Also, would scraping/brushing one's tongue at the time reduce the side effect?
3 Responses
207091 tn?1337709493
There are some different theories on this, which means that basically we don't know what exactly is causing it. One of the more common thoughts is that covid is infecting neurons in the nose, which is affecting smell, which is in turn, affecting taste.

Obviously, being congested affects smell and taste, but some people have it affected for much longer than they are sick, so it's not just that.

It's not clogged or burned pores or nostrils, and it's all smells and tastes, according to friends that have experienced it. One got hers back, another still has it. Researchers are looking into if it may be permanent for some people.

Do you have this?
1 Comments
Again, there are probably videos and interviews with fellow sufferers who can provide you with your answers.  I remember one interview with a chef who had it and lost his sense of smell and taste and it hasn't come back yet, but he is undergoing a kind of occupational therapy to try and either recover it or learn to smell and taste in other ways.  I would also say that since the brain controls everything in the end, it's possible there's something maybe connected to neurotransmitters and also again the inflammation and clotting that occurs might contribute.  When we're in the middle of a crisis, we work on the crisis.  When the crisis mitigates, we work on the details.  Since the US particularly but the world in general has made covid a political issue due to its effect on the economy and the large number of populists in charge of countries right now, including the US under Trump, people in too many places didn't do what was needed to control the spread, and so we haven't had a lot of time to do thorough evaluation because almost all of us are still in crisis mode.  I'm guessing there is work being done in, say, China, because it did control the virus and is almost back to normal, so maybe there is some info coming out of there that is post-crisis mode.
973741 tn?1342342773
Oh, this is fantastic as I had covid! Forgot to make the announcement. :>)   It was 12 days of badness.  I completely lost my taste and smell.  On day 7 of having symptoms, 3 days after tremendous congestion started.  What I was told that we have a nerve that is in that area.  We can lose our smell from any illness that impacts this nerve (where we are highly congested), but with all my time on earth, I never suffered that until covid.  Good old covid.  It started to wear I kept thinking to myself "can I smell alright?" as it must have started and taken a couple of days to be fully gone.  Once smell was gone, obviously taste was too.  There are sensory nerves that send signals to the brain to detect smell.  That gets interrupted from covid whether from inflammation or neurological involvement.  

Not having any smell is very odd.  I missed it more than taste to be honest.  It came back after a week or so slowly.  
3 Comments
Oh I'm really happy to hear you are feeling better, and your senses are back. :)
Thank you.  I can not lie, a LOT Of anxiety with getting covid with fear your body won't react well and it can happen all of a sudden.  Not taking health for granted these days!!!  
Specialmom - you have described exactly my understanding of why smell and taste is disrupted. I was so worried to have lost both when hit with the virus last October, I did lots of research to understand why. Damage to the lining of the nose, affecting the neural pathway and messages to the brain seemed to be the general opinion. However, I had no ‘cold’ symptoms, just very very mild congestion. I was convinced these senses wouldn’t return. I read up about ‘smell training’ and bought some essential oils to inhale twice a day - I used lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, clove. It took 2 months to even slightly regain these senses. A very depressing time! Even now, the smell and taste are not as powerful as they were, initial mouthfuls register but midway through a meal it depletes. I tend to eat more slowly with little breaks in mouthfuls so that it gives my senses time to ‘start again’. I’m hoping over time the healing process will increase and undo the damage....
Avatar universal
I was so worried to have lost both when hit with the virus last October, I did lots of research to understand why. Damage to the lining of the nose, affecting the neural pathway and messages to the brain seemed to be the general opinion. However, I had no ‘cold’ symptoms, just very very mild congestion. I was convinced these senses wouldn’t return. I read up about ‘smell training’ and bought some essential oils to inhale twice a day - I used lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, clove. It took 2 months to even slightly regain these senses. A very depressing time! Even now, the smell and taste are not as powerful as they were, initial mouthfuls register but midway through a meal it depletes. I tend to eat more slowly with little breaks in mouthfuls so that it gives my senses time to ‘start again’. I’m hoping over time the healing process will increase and undo the damage...
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