'Smell training' advised for COVID-19 survivors
Scientists have recommended “smell training” for COVID-19 survivors who have lost their sense of smell, local media reported on April 25.
The program involves sniffing at least four different smells twice a day for several months.
A study by an international group of smell experts, published in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, advised against using steroids to treat loss of smell.
Professor Carl Philpott, an expert at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, was quoted by local media as saying that there was “very little evidence” that steroids help treat smell loss.
In fact, they have “potential side effects including fluid retention, high blood pressure, and problems with mood swings and behavior,” according to Philpott.
“Luckily most people who experience smell loss as a result of COVID-19 will regain their sense of smell spontaneously. Research shows that 90% of people will have fully recovered their sense of smell after six months,” he said.
“But we do know that smell training could be helpful. This involves sniffing at least four different odors twice a day every day for several months. It has emerged as a cheap, simple, and side-effect-free treatment option for various causes of smell loss, including COVID-19.”
The program aims to help recovery based on “neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to reorganize itself to compensate for a change or injury.”