Can’t Smell or Taste? Here’s What to Do.

Many of our posts talk about awesome ways to caress the senses with lovely colors, music and scents. However, it’s almost impossible to appreciate the benefits of these sensual stimulants if you have no perception of them.

This post is for our goddesses who can’t smell or taste. First a small definition: Your sense of taste is located on your tongue. Tastes include salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami*. Flavors are what allow us to differentiate one food from another such as a lemon from a lime. When you say can’t smell or taste, you probably mean you can’t smell or know the flavor of foods.

*Umami is a Japanese word loosely translated into “delicious.” It comes from a receptor on your tongue that is responsive to organic compounds like glutamate like that found in meat and in MSG flavor.

Why you can’t smell or taste

There are a variety of reasons including:

  • Injury to your head
  • Medications
  • Sinus problems including allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chemical exposure
  • Dental problems
  • Nasal polyps and tumors
  • Brain tumors
  • Depression – Studies indicate the cause is an autoimmune response
  • Age – Usually associated with a diminished sense of smell and flavor.
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics

Here’s what to do when you can’t smell or taste

Step 1

    • The first thing to do is figure out, if you can, why you are suffering from anosmia (loss of smell). Sometimes it will be obvious sometimes not so much.
    • If you get a cold or suffer from nasal allergies, you may well lose your sense of smell or taste until the cold goes away or the allergy situation is resolved. Also, just as a word of warning, you can permanently lose or diminish your sense of smell and taste (flavor) with persistent nasal infections.



  • If you fall down and bump your head. You may lose your sense of smell. How long before you get it back is determined by the extent of nerve damage.
  • If you smoke and notice the roses don’t have near the aroma they used to, in addition to the many other reasons, you may want to quit.
  • If you’re on a medication, check with your doctor to see if that might be the problem.
  • If you find the scent of your perfume isn’t as intense as it once was or food doesn’t taste quite the same, you may be suffering from a treatable medical condition. It’s time to see your doctor.

Step two

Once you’ve identified why you can’t smell or taste, the treatment might be obvious. You quit smoking, change medications, clear up your allergy symptoms, treat nasal infections, etc.

In addition, there are some things to help improve your sense of smell. They include:

  • Take 200 mg lipoic acid three times a day. One study showed marked taste and smell improvement in a human trial.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Humidify the air in your home in the winter
  • Keep your nose unblocked with nasal spray
  • Wear your seatbelt to avoid head injuries
  • Avoid really bad odors, they numb your sense of smell
  • Train your nose – To do this check out the post Homemade Perfume Part I
  • If you think your loss of taste and smell is due to an infection, you might try a treatment using essential oils. In a humidifier, try adding a few drops of peppermint oil, tea tree, lemon, rosemary, thyme, and eucalyptus.

Important note – Don’t take Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel or Nasal Swab. These two products have been associated with anosmia.

Please read Thieves’ Oil Recipe – Research Says It Really Works. This recipe works wonders and can be put in a humidifying diffuser,

Conclusion

If you are a goddess who has lost her sense of smell and there’s little chance of getting it back or you are waiting for it to come back, there is still much to make your spa day a great experience. You can enjoy the wonderful effects of music and colors. And don’t forget that oh so soothing bath and the luxurious softness of your towels and linens.

Now go have fun and relax.

Related articles:

Thieves’ Oil Recipe – Research Says It Really Works

281 thoughts on “Can’t Smell or Taste? Here’s What to Do.

  1. Sure, I had a cold a few days ago.
    All symptoms of it are gone, except for the occasional stuffy nose.
    …I can’t stand not being able to taste.

  2. i can’t smell things but i can smell a little . since 2012 before that i use to clean cats pee and the thing.. i was different country so i went to see a doctor and she told me that my nose is blocked i had no time to talk about it deeply so she didn’t give me anything then i arrive to usa now i can’t smell any thing if i don’t sniff .i do went to see a doctor they told me the exact ting that my nose is small and blocked .so is their any thing i can use to unblock my nose from pharmacy ?

    1. Hi there Guest,

      It’s time to play detective. You should try and figure out what is causing your nose to be blocked. The most common cause is allergies. If you own animals or work with them, their dander may be the culprit. House mites are also a common cause along with grasses, pollens and a host of foods. If you can’t figure out the cause, your doctor may suggest you have allergy tests. What you want is a permanent fix, not the temporary variety you get from over-the-counter meds.

      In answer to your question, yes there are a number of decongestants and nasal sprays that may offer temporary relief. Talk to your pharmacist for suggestions. As you know, if you’ve read my other posts, I don’t advocate the long term use of quick fix medications.

      Be sure you let us know how you’re doing.

      We love you.

      Vic

      1. Hi, I am also suffering from this problem since Friday
        (6th of January 2017), I still have cough and cold, I am so scared right now, as I can’t smell anything, not even strong scents, I can’t taste anything, I can’t even tell by taste whether I am drinking tea or coffee, I just feel both like hot water only. I am so scared .

  3. I can’t smell, taste and temperature also since last 7 days. I have been affecting by cold for about the same duration. Once, I had a head injury when I fallen by head 6 years ago, I again got a little strike on my head 9 days ago. I saw the doctor, he advised me some medicine and anti-allergic medicine for 5 days. Please give some advice?

      1. Hi Guest

        That pesky cold virus is what’s probably causing the problem. Don’t panic. Wait until the cold goes away and see what happens.

  4. it’s been three years that i didn’t smell anything.sometime when i have a bleeding problem in my nose,i can smell some but not normal.So is that because of nose bleeding problem or what is your best solution……….

    1. Hi there Guest,

      So sorry you’re having problems. Have you seen an EENT (eye,ear,nose,throat) specialist? If not, you should do so. Don’t guess, particularly when you are having frequent nose bleeds. If you have, tell us what s/he had to say?

      Report back because we love you and want to know how you’re doing.

  5. My sense of smell and taste have diminished since December 2012. The only two things that I can recall that happened during this time is that I had two sinus infections and was treated with azithromycin. I also joined Weight Watchers the end of December 2012 and my normal weekday lunch consisted of a salad with poppyseed dressing. I’ve been to my primary physician and he ruled out side effects from my current medications (Zoloft and Synthroid). He also suggested I see an ENT. But in the meantime, he suggested I try taking Claritin D for a week or so and see if my sense of smell and taste improves. I’ve been taking it for maybe a week and I may have noticed a slight improvement, but not enough to really say “YES, it’s working!”. I realize it’s quite possible it was due to the sinus infections, but was wondering if daily consumption of poppyseeds would contribute to the loss of these senses. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hello there Guest,

      Poppy seeds are probably not the problem. The only reason I say “probably” is because your body and how it reacts to food and drug intake may be unique to you. There is no research that I was able to find indicating poppy seeds or the small amount of opiates they contain causing problems with the sense of smell.

      I also checked out the medications you have and are taking and don’t see a connection there.

      If I were in your shoes, I would run, not walk to a good ENT and find out what’s going on. From what you have said, it sounds like finding the right treatment is the ticket to regaining your sense of smell.

      Good luck and be sure and let us know what your ENT recommends.

      We love you.

  6. I am in my mid 30s, and I have had very limited smell for the last 9 months. Some days are worse than others. Can barely smell very, very strong smells but that it. my taste is leaving me too. The loss seemed to come on out of no where and all of a sudden. noticed no loss prior. I have had ct scan, MRI, 3 weeks of antibiotics, antiinflamitory steroids, Flonase, , nasonex, and am trying acupuncture now all with no improvement. The scary part is it seems to be getting gradually worse. I have seen 3 ENTs ( and a neurologist) and the latest ENT has stated that it was due to likely a viral infection and that if it does not improve at all by 1 year that it will never come back. Thats 3 months away! He has offered to do a nasal surgery to clear pathways in case it is due to my minor chronic sinus decease which showed up on the ct, but he said he is not sure this will help at all. I feel like the clock is ticking down to Impending doom and there is nothing I can do. My most recent research has me convinced that my loss of smell is due to chronic mercury poisoning due to amalgam fillings in my teeth. I have 5 fillings and have been told I grind my teeth. I feel like I am grasping at straws. Could it be mercury exposure and if so what should I do? If it a viral insult, is there any chance it could come back after a year? I am depressed all the time and am scared my relationships and life will fall apart as a result. Please help me. I am about to give up hope.

    1. Hi there Guest,

      So sorry you’re having such a time of it. It sounds like you’ve pretty much exhausted your medical options, but take heart, there is hope. I found the following link to a guy who was having many of the same problems and he shared what he did to cure himself.
      http://www.webmd.com/brain/anosmia-loss-of-smell?page=2

      If you think heavy metals such as mercury or lead may be factors, have your doctor run tests to determine your levels. If they are high, there are mean to chelate them out of your body.

      One other factor may be a vitamin B12 deficiency. That’s easily remedied with a supplement.

      Above all don’t panic and don’t get depressed. That will put you in a state of stress which doesn’t help your body heal. Focus on what you have, not on what you MAY not have in the future.

      We love you and want you to be happy,

      Vic

      P.S. Be sure and report back on how you’re doing.

  7. Hi there this is amin and I had motor bike accident by feb this year and some part of my temporal lobe been squashed and I can’t taste or smell now is it any chance to get them back????

    1. Hi Guest,

      Brain injuries are slow to heal. Be patient and wear a good helmet the next time you get on your bike.

  8. I lost my smell and taste after a accident before 8 months ,,, I got injured on head and side of my nose….I asked the doctor he said because of antibiotic tablets ,,and we can do nothing about it itseems………..so plse im worries can u help me ??????

    1. Hi Guest,

      We’re so sorry about your accident.

      Don’t give up. Antibiotics don’t usually cause a loss of smell, but a head injury can. The brain is pretty amazing in that it can heal, but it’s not a quick process.

      1. ya even the doc said to my family that its come back but late…. thing is im scared if it takes a lot lot time ..so any remedies ……i get teased ..

        1. Hello Guest,

          Be patient. You are not identified by how well you can smell or taste. You are perfect with or without one of your senses. And as for those that tease you, in their own way, they’re probably trying to give you the same advice.

          Your experience will help you come away a stronger and hopefully more compassionate person. The reason is you will know what it’s like for others when they are different from the norm.

          We love you.

  9. I lost my smell after a head injury a few decades ago. I would love to smell my children and all the great aromas on this earth. Is there any hope for me? I’m willing to try anything safe. Thanks, Cindyjcook@comcast.net

    1. Hi Cindy,

      What does your neurologist say? I will add that there are new treatments being developed all the time. Don’t give up. Be proactive and research the latest studies and treatments for brain injuries.

      Cordially,
      Vic

  10. I havent had smell taste for a over a year off and on only thing helps is prednesone once i run out im bck severely congested coughing no smell no taste what so ever ever since i breifly moved in wit a person wit mold and maybe other things im having breathing problems wheezing as well in there house i think her house should be considered condemed because its in horrible shape

    1. Hi Guest,

      It definitely sounds like you’re reacting to something in the house. Moving to a new clean place is your best bet.

  11. Hi my smelling has been acting up when I stand up and walk around I can smell but when I sit or lay down I can’t smell anything please tell me what the problem is

  12. I had a cold about a week ago, I took theraflu severe cold and cough also i took Zicam quick dissolve tablets, i took them as directed 1 every 3 hours. i do have allergies but i was still able to smell while my allergies were acting up. I have not been able to smell anything since june 23rd. I still have a stuffy nose and a lot of mucus build up. i’m worried i wont get my sense of smell back.. what do i do?

    1. Hi,

      Sounds like you have a stubborn cold. I’ve had them last up to two weeks before my immune system could conquer the bad bugs. If your cold doesn’t clear up in a week or so, I’d suggest a doctor’s visit to find out why.

      Be sure and report back and let us know how you’re doing.

      P.s. Are you getting enough vitamin C in your diet? Some people have good luck taking garlic capsules or placing a clove of garlic under the tongue. I know a guy who swears by this remedy and his colds never last more than a couple of days.

  13. Hi,
    I dont really have cold but i have cough. I just sneeze from time to time, daily. I cant taste some things. When i ate my pudding, i cant taste it. It supposed to have soya-bean kind of taste. And, i have never hit my head on anything so far.

      1. Hi there,

        If I had your set of symptoms, I’d suspect an allergy. If it continues, check with your doctor.

        Good luck and be sure and let us know how you’re doing.

    1. Hi Guest,

      Not sure what you mean by you “felt” like you couldn’t smell nor how you “had a cold yesterday.” Could you be having a little fun with us here at SpaFromScratch.com?

  14. I was hit in the head with a bottle like a week ago and I had a bacterial infection when it happened. Nothing happened I wasn’t dizzy or etc. But I haven’t gone to the doctor since. My smell keeps alternating like it chooses when and not smell. And I’m really depressed I can’t smell or taste any of my favorite foods. And it is getting to the point which I want to cry everynite. I don’t know people who can handle it for a lifetime! I don’t know if its the bacterial infection or the bump I don’t really wantvto go to the doctor. And I still have the bacterial infection and I Prey its the bacterial infection not the bump.
    Please help me!

    1. Hi there guest,

      Sounds like you really need to get to the bottom of the problem. I don’t like to go to doctors either, but if I had your set of symptoms, that’s exactly where I’d be heading.

      Good luck and get well soon.

  15. *(CORRECTION FROM ABOVE POST)*
    I have had a blocked nose on and off for about 9 weeks now. When it’s blocked – 75% of the time – it can be unbearable (so hard to breath, and constantly blowing my nose). When it’s NOT blocked, it’s still a bit stuffy. Whether my nose is blocked or not i have no sense of smell, and no sense of taste…. apart from an ongoing nasty smell and taste which I can only describe as a dusty yet burning smell/ taste.
    When I blow my nose it’s sometimes a greeny yellow colour. But most of the time it’s a dirty yellow colour. I blow out a fairly large volume each day.
    I feel like this is an allergy but i am not sure. I recently had a 3-day asthma attack (a week before this nasal problem began).
    In the week the doctor called me back as he had no appointments free and he has prescribed me steroid nasal drops for decreasing nasal or eye swelling. Ive been applying this now for 4 days but despite my nose being 50% clearer (sometimes completely clear for an hour or so) my smell is still gone. I still have that nasty smell though.

    1. Hi there Guest,

      If I were in your shoes, I’d run, not walk to an ear, nose, throat physician. It sounds like an infection to me. All the steroids do is reduce swelling. A good physician will probably prescribe an antibiotic. A better physician will also take a culture from your nose to identify the bug.

      Be very proactive with this problem.

      Good luck and be sure to report back.

      Vic

  16. I have had a blocked nose on and off for about 9 weeks now. When it’s blocked of the time – it can be unbearable (so hard to breath, and constantly blowing my nose). When it’s not blocked, its still a bit stuffy. Whether my nose is blocked or not i have no sense of smell, and no sense of taste…. apart from an ongoing nasty smell and taste which I can only describe as a dusty yet burning smell/ taste.
    When I blow my nose it’s sometimes a greeny yellow colour. but most of the time its a dirty yellow colour. I blow out a fairly large volume each day.
    I feel like this is an allergy but i am not sure. I recently had a 3-day asthma attack (a week before this nasal problem began).
    In the week the doctor called me back as he had no appointments free and he has prescribed me steroid nasal drops for decreasing nasal or eye swelling. Ive been applying this now for 4 days but despite my nose being 50% clearer (smoetimes completely clear for an hour or so) my smell is still gone. I still have that nasty smell though.

  17. As I am searching for some answers as to why I’ve lost my taste, the only thing I’ve found is associated with the loss of smell. My problem is I can smell just fine, :-(( but still cannot taste anything. About 3 weeks ago I suffered from sinusitis and was prescribed antibiotic. It has been almost two weeks since I’ve stopped taking the medication, I hate smelling all this delicious food but cannot taste it, Will this ever end!?? p.s. Ive been drinking plenty of water!

    1. Hi there Guest,

      I’m assuming you mean that the foods you eat have no flavor other than salty, sweet, bitter, sour, savory and fat. Flavors other than those are associated with the sense of smell. If you can smell the flavor, but not “taste” it, the gustatory receptor cells are either not receiving the stimulus (food flavor) or they are not transmitting the information to your cerebral cortex.

      I strongly recommend you see a physician about this. I certainly would.

      Good luck and be sure and get back to us on how you’re doing.

  18. I am 28 yrs old, due to some personal reason i was overdrunk and had a blood vomit, also i some a pack of cigars a day. Since then almost 40 days i cant smell and taste.

    Any idea Doctor?

  19. Hey i have a cold and i had problems with taste and smell and idk what to do. what should i do i want to smell and taste again.

  20. I have a chest infection and I am also badly congested due to what I think is hayfever. Will my sense of smell return once my congestion clears up?
    Gem

    1. Hi Gem,

      Hay fever is an allergy and a chest infection can be bacterial, viral or fungal caused. Once your chest infection clears up, if you still have the problem, go on a quest to find the cause of your allergy and treat that.

      Be sure and see your physician to get the infection checked out.

      Good luck. Be sure and let us know how you’re doing.

  21. i am also experiencing this loss of taste and smell and am terrified. it may have actually began a couple of weeks before i came down with the flu as i noticed that chocolate didn’t taste right and then once the flu came and my head cleared i noticed that what i could smell and taste was all distorted. first tomato sauce smelled and tasted like it was moldy. then i realized that just about any food i tried had no taste at all. i did get excited the other day when i woke up and picked up a banana that actually smelled and tasted like a banana. also mandarin oranges. but mostly i smell what reminds me of a parking garage and other very hard to define but not pleasant odors. i can’t smell the flowers and the odors on the street all have this vague garage smell to it. its hard to describe but it ain’t pleasant. i started taking zinc lozenges cause i read about a zinc deficienc though i have been using lozenges with small amounts of zinc for years. i saw two doctors so far and both told me it could take a few weeks. meanwhile it not only feels very depressing but also dangerous. i have no way of knowing if food is spoiled or not.

    i know anxiety is helping and after a yoga class today i finally broke down. i know i am not alone in this matter and i pray that all of us get our normal sense of smell back real soon.

    1. i meant to say i know anxiety is not helping but i feel anxious inside about this cause i see how so many have not recovered in long periods of time and of course reading about it on the internet how some folks don’t get they’re sense of smell back is very scary to me

  22. Hello! I had a cold ever since the beginning of the year. My cold has been like feeling better, to bad. Then felling better then bad. But this time, my sense of smelling was gone! I had dinner and I could not taste the food due to my nose. Please help!

    -Thank You!
    From: Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      So sorry you’re having problems. It doesn’t sound like just a cold. Once I had a cold that lasted for months. It was discovered anemia was the cause.

      If I was walking in your shoes, I would want to know if I had an allergy or if something else was going on. Be persistent with your physician until you get results. If one physician is unable or unwilling to do the necessary detective work, see one that is.

      Don’t forget to come back and let us know how you’re doing.

      Your friend,

      Vic

  23. Gift.I have lost my sense of smell since 2008,I don’t know what seems to be the problem.I only can smell if I take prednisomes.so is it dangerous to prolong prednisomes?

    1. I don’t like prednisone for long term use. I’ve witnessed the long term effects and it’s not pretty. I can’t tell you what to do, but if it was me, I would try and find out the cause. Since prednisone brings back the ability to smell, I would know I didn’t have permanent nerve damage and would be thankful for that. However, the mystery remains as to the cause and I would be a physician’s nightmare patient until I knew. You can’t permanently fix the problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.

      Be sure and report back what you discover.

  24. 2 years ago I had a skull fracture and my brain was bleeding and bruised I lost MT smell/taste itsucks yes it does doctor said I was lucky I didn’t loose my sight and im greatful for that but it is very depressing to know I’ll never be able to smell my 3 year old I think that’s what bothers me most not being able to smell my kids and holidays when it gets cold but I try not to tinkering about it doctor to me ill most likely never get it back 🙁 sorry about misspelled words im on a cell phone and its very irritating trying to fix

  25. Hi god plus please help me I have been sad for 10 years after I heart my had I don’t injoy any food I don’t injoy any drink I don’t know what’s smell good whats smell bad I don’t know what to do please help me tell me what can I do I go to dc they don’t know what to do please please help me

  26. Hi, I have been waiting to find other people like me! I lost my sense of smell/flavor 10 years ago as of February. I had a sinus infection and my smell never came back, in that same time period my son was diagnosed with Autism (I took it VERY badly) and 9 months earlier I had a car accident and hit my head bad enough to get 10 stitches – those are 3 reasons right there that could have caused it. I tried doctors and they did the cat scan and tried 3 different antibiotics & nothing worked, it was very depressing because I LOVE FOOD! Well, after a few years of this I started using sinu-cleanse everyone knows it as neti pot now but I used it everyday and my smell started coming back, since then it comes and goes and I mean that literally like I will have it, and 2 hours later I can’t smell bleach?? When I do have it I really have it too, not just a little, sometimes it lasts for weeks, then gone with no explanation? Anyone else have this situation?

  27. Hello, I decided to search the Internet this morning after about a year of no taste, no smell. Late in life (late 40s) I was diagnosed with having allergies and started taking weekly allergy injections. I also take an allergy med at night (Zyrtec). I had been using fluticasone nasal spray daily, but this has not seemed to help much. They switched me to a trial of Astepro nasal spray, which I’ve tried for a week, but cannot tolerate it due to falling asleep at the wheel, and I do drive a lot! While on it, there was a slight hint of return of taste (a nanosecond) but then it would be gone. I had been to an ENT about a year ago, had a CT, and said all was clear. The allergist wants me to return to the ENT. Should I go or should I just return to my primary care physician?

    I will try some tips that I’ve seen here. The first few months, I brushed off these problems. Now, I keep thinking it would be nice to breathe in a nice scent or really taste a bit of food. Typically, when I’m eating now I’m prone to saying, “I REMEMBER what that tastes like” and it sounds a bit pathetic. I can taste salty, sweet, sour – but no real flavors per se. I can’t even smell the skunk that passed by our office door!

    1. Hi there Guest,

      If it was me, I would follow the advice of the allergist and see a physician who specializes.

      Also, with all the medications you are using, be sure and read the information on potential side effects.

      You might also try Neti Pot approach by breathing the steam of a saline solution. That may help relieve the irritation in you sinuses and help restore your sense of smell.

      The reason you can “taste” salty, sweet, bitter and sour is because this taste comes from cells on your tongue.

      Good luck and be sure to report back.

  28. Guest

    I had cough and colds 3 weeks ago, since then i lost my sense of smell and taste.. It’s like torture for me, what i fear the most is that my mother had a similar problem back in the years, she suffered this for a couple of years. I wouldn’t want this to happen to me, what should i do?

    1. Hi there Guest.

      If it were me, I would wait awhile to see if my sense of smell returned. If it didn’t, I would see a specialist to find out what’s going on.

      Be sure and report back and let us know how your doing.

      Vic

  29. Hey, yesterday i lost my smell but till today afternoon, my smelling came back.Until night, i can’t smell anymore?Will it able to recover?

    1. Hi there Victim,

      Since we’re not doctors, we aren’t able to diagnose the problem you are having. That said, if my sense of smell was behaving like yours, I would suspect an allergy. If I couldn’t figure out the problem on my own, I would probably see a physician that could help me discover the cause.

  30. I have allergies ever since childhood….. It’s been a few years since I haven’t taste or smell anything… If its a strong odor or taste I can…. Other than that I can’t smell my breath or notice the taste of it most of the time…. I usually have bad breath…. What would you recommend me doing to help it instead of going to the doctor?

    1. Hi there,

      So sorry you are having problems.

      Allergies and sinus problems go hand in hand. There are various ways you can try and determine the culprit causing your allergies. It may be a food allergy or an airborne allergy. I would start by eliminating the most common allergens first such as peanuts, soy, dairy, MSG, corn, eggs and gluten.

      There are two ways to go about this: Eliminate all of the most common allergens for 14 to 21 days and see if it makes a difference. If it does, add them back into your diet one by one until you have a reaction then you will know to avoid that food to. The other way to test whether you are allergic to thees foods is to eliminate them one by one and see if your allergies clear up once a particular food is omitted from your diet. Keep in mind that a good allergist can do testing to determine the cause of your allergies and advise you.

      If you are plagued by bad breath, I strongly recommend you see a physician to determine why. Bad breath can be caused by a variety of problems some simple such as breathing with your mouth open or your diet. However, other causes can be far more serious such as gum infections and kidney disease. If I were you, I would see a physician to rule out possible serious medical conditions.

      Hey, we want you healthy because we love you so go visit a physician at least for the bad breath. The allergies you can try and resolve yourself.

  31. It has been 6 weeks since I had a regular kind of cold. usually don’t get them. I lost most of my sense of smell and taste. The ENT dr. gave me a dose of prednisone for 1 week and now I am on Nasonex. I had a CT scan and there is not blockage. I have no congestion. She told me I have nerve damage as a result of the virus from the cold. I have no allergies.

    I use humidifiers all winter.

    I started acupuncture twice a week and after a session I regain more sense of smell and taste, but it doesn’t last. My acupuncturist/doctor indicated he had cured a patient with the same viral nerve damage cause.

    My next step is to visit the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Penn. provided, my insurance will cover it. It may reach the point that insurance coverage will not matter, if they can fix this.

    I will let you know how the acupuncture goes. And when I go to Penn. I will keep everybody informed.

    1. Hi Gracie,

      We look forward to hearing about your progress.

      Take heart in knowing that often the loss of smell and taste will resolve, but it can take several months. The fact that it returned with acupuncture tells you that the nerve receptors aren’t destroyed.

      We love you,

      Vic

  32. Hi, I have had a really bad cold and sinus infection, and lost my sense of smell 2 days ago. My sense of taste is only partial as well.
    I am fairly certain it has to be the sinus infection causing the problem, i had about a day of a burning sensation throughout my sinuses, and its still painful and the cold has not gone yet, i am getting better though, no sense of smell at all though. It is alarming to read of so many people that took a long time or are still, recovering from their loss of smell.
    One thing i did wonder about was the use of Zinc lozenges to try and reduce the time frame of the cold. I had some of those from a Target store.. i have eaten about 11 of an 18 pack over maybe 5 days, so no way taking too many. I read the sprays were taken of the shelves though because they caused some people to actually lose their sense of smell. Now i am worried that the Zinc might have damaged my sense of smell, but think it way more likely that it is the cold and sinus infection. Never lost my sense of smell before, but it’s potentially dangerous as i use paint and varnish quite a lot and i cant smell the fumes of that at all at the moment.

    Is it the infection or could the extra Zinc have caused damage ?
    Thank you for any help.

    1. Hello there guest,

      I doubt the zinc lozenges are causing problems. Studies on zinc toxicity indicate you would need a higher dosage over a longer period of time for there to be cause for alarm. Also, consider that there are more milligrams of zinc in a single 3 ounce serving of oysters than your total intake of zinc.

      If I were in your shoes and thought I had a sinus infection, I would see my physician. It might be such a thing that an antibiotic could clear up the infection if it’s bacterial related.

      Just remember that antibiotics can take out the good bacteria along with the bad. So to avoid getting diarrhea eat active yogurt or take a probiotic supplement. I use either Nature Made or Spring Valley. They’re not all that highly rated, but they work well enough for me.

      Now you get to feeling better fast, that’s an order. There’s way too much fun to be had to spend time with bad bugs.

      We love you,

      Vic

          1. Hi Vic, YAY! I can smell things again! Not 100% but the sense is coming back thankfully 🙂 I guess it will maybe be a few weeks before it is totally back hopefully. Thank you for the support and advice, it helped put my mind at rest.

    1. Hello there Kebede,

      You didn’t tell us whether you currently have anosmia or are fearful that you might suffer from it in the future.

      If you have anosmia now, reread the article and comments that follow for suggestions. You may also want to see a physician to help identify the cause of the problem.

      If you are not symptomatic, but are fearful you may have this problem in the future, then you will want to take an entirely different course of action. Attack your phobia by researching the causes and treatments of phobias. You may be able to also get help from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

      Whatever the problem, be proactive in resolving it because you deserve to be happy and healthy.

      We love you,

      Vic

  33. my boyfriend has not been able to smell for 5 days and he has green diahrrea and his stomach hurts is that normal?

  34. I have not been able to smell for 2 years, I have had FESS surgery to remove polyps and remove sinus infection 7 months ago with still no improvement apart from I have no headache now. ENT have discharged me saying they can do no more and my smell might come back it might not. I am so fed up now two years is a long time without smell. Food has no interest to me I have lost over 7lb and really am beginning to get depressed I just want to be able to smell again – please help.

    1. So sorry you’re having a time of it, but you aren’t doing yourself any favors stressing over the situation. Stress and anxiety can slow the healing process.

      My friend who lost her ability to smell or taste years ago says she remembers the flavors of her favorite foods. In addition, she still can taste sweet, salty and bitter (a function of the tongue)and this also helps her remember the flavors.

      Take care and be sure and let us know how you’re doing.

    2. hi, After i was hit in the head by my boyfriends head in a wave pool at an amusement park, i wasn’t able to taste from 1999 to 2014. 15 Years! I went to an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor who said there was nothing he could do, that it was nerve damage. Well about 8 months ago in August 2014, I started tasting my food again. I was so happy. The a few weeks ago , I coudnt taste again. Its been a few weeks now and Im devastated, do you know what it could be? Could it be allergies? can someone please tell me or let me know?

      1. How horribly disapointing. I can tell you this. Nerve damage repair happens over a long period of time. I won’t bore you with the process here. It sounds like your body is trying to heal. Give it more time and avoid negative thoughts such as Oh gosh I can’t taste anything. It’ll never come back. Instead focus your mind on how things tasted. Think that way. The power of your thoughts can influence what happens in your body. No woo woo here, that’s based on the latest studies of brain function.

    3. Hi, my problem sound the same as yours. I have not been able to smell either for about 4 years I also have had FESS surgery and seen several ent docs who have now discharged me with not really helping me much at all. Has your sense of smell returned yet? After a course of presdnisolone my smell returns briefly but soon disappears. This problem is making me miserable and food is no longer a joy to eat. Please let me know if you have found any solutions to this horrible problem.

  35. For months now I haven’t been able to taste my food as well or smell anything. I haven’t totally lost my sense of smell but it’s pretty bad, My friends will say “do you smell that?” and I usually never do….. I stay stopped up most of the time and I get mild head aches a lot…. my right nostril is worse, I can sniff and barley any air will make it through my right nostril. How do I know if it’s allergies or a sinus problem?

    1. Hello there,

      Sounds a lot like you have an allergy to something. Keep in mind allergies can be a little weird in that they can develop over time.

      If it is an allergy, it’s going to take some serious detective work to discover what it is. It may be environmental as in something you breath or absorb through your skin or it may be due to something you are consuming.

      To rule out a chronic sinus infection, check with your doctor.

      Good luck and get back to us on how you’re doing.

      We love you,

      Vic & Lori

    1. Hi there friend,

      You’ll probably have to wait until the cold is gone. At least that’s how it works for me.

      Your friend,

      Vic

  36. Let me weigh in as another person confronted by loss of smell/ taste following a cold in late December 2012-early January 2013. Between Christmas and New Years, all sense of smell/taste was gone. A couple more weeks, the cold was gone, but the sense of smell/taste did not.
    I’ve since seen an ENT who prescribed a 12-week course of high-dose prednisone; have 2 more days on that and am to return to ENT this Friday.

    Is there any studies showing an average timeframe that restoration might come, just for encouragement if nothing else? Also, has any linkage been shown between spray antiperspirants and loss of smell (a question from a chemistry instructor)?
    I will repost following my doc visit at end of week. I am way past ready o smell again!

    1. Hello there wonderful friend,

      I have found nothing in the literature linking spray deodorants to anosmia (loss of ability to smell). However, I did find that due to the drying action of antiperspirants, the sense of smell was temporarily impaired for some people.

      Your doctor has given you high doses of prednisone as an anti-inflammatory. I hope it works for you, but my guess is that time will be your best friend on this front.

      Several years ago, Lori and I managed to suffer from a virus infection that not only caused anosmia, but dysosmia, That is a condition where scents don’t smell the same as they should. Foods that previously smelled delicious to us, smelled terrible and perfumes we liked smelled absolutely foul. It took about 6 months for things to return to normal.

      As for treatments, some people report improvement with nasal washes. Others report that changing to a healthy diet markedly improved their ability to smell. I would assume this is due to the healthy diet actually nourishing the olfactory cells along with those in the entire body. Cursory investigation revealed no science to back this up other than a link to zinc deficiency and anosmia.

      Take heart, it is not uncommon for it to take quite a long time to get your sense of smell to return; sometimes months. Don’t stress about the problem, be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal. For most people, the sense of smell does return after sinus infections.

      Take care and report back. We want to know how you’re doing.

      We love you,

      Vic

      1. H? after 2months ago I got sinüs infection and now I can’t smell most of the things. Parfumes smell like something medical or burning. The smell of cigarette is different now. I can’t smell fart and poo. Cleaning stuff make me crazy. I can smell herbals fruits and some foods. It has been 2months now and my doctor gave me zinc 50mg, prednisone 16mg, thioctacid 600mg, and smell practices with 5 different smell. Did u use any supplements within this 6 months? I can’t go out because of the weird smells around and the parfumes that all smell same but annoying for me:*

  37. IT IS ALMOST A YEAR FOR ME WITHOUT MY SENSE OF SMELL AND TASTE, BUT I CAN ONLY SMELL DOOM, AND JAY’S FLUID AND FOOD HAVE SOME HORRIBLE TASTE.

    PLEASE HELP!

    1. Hello wonderful friend.

      We’re sorry you’re having problems.

      Can you remember when the condition began? Was it after a cold or sinus infection? Was it after you were taking a medication?

      After a really bad sinus infection, my sense of smell and taste were really messed up for months. Foods I once enjoyed smelled awful as did many perfumes. Recovery was very slow and gradual.

      Since you’ve had the problem for over a year, You should see a doctor just to be on the safe side.

      We love you and look forward to hearing how you’re doing.

      Your friend,

      Vic

    1. Sorry you’re having problems with your sense of taste. Have you seen a doctor to try and determine why this is happening?

  38. I have had a cold or sinus infection going on 5 days, and I cant smell anything in the last couple of days:( I cant taste stuff either. I cried so much about it because I dont want to to lose my sense of smell or tastebuds forever. This has never happened to me before and I have had allergies most of my life. I really hope that it comes back soon, I think it happened because I am still recovering and still have a cough. I dunno what I would do if this was permanent, so I hope and pray that it isnt.

    1. Colds and loss of the ability to smell or taste flavors go hand in hand. It’s way too early to start worrying. Give it some time.

    1. If it’s been that long I suggest you pay a visit to your physician. If the loss of smell is due to a cold, it will typically return. Let’s hope yours returns soon.

      Be sure and let us know how you are doing.

      1. I gave up smoking just over 2 months ago since then ive totaly lost all smellaand taste and my ears feel blocked i also had a cold just over a month ago and have used cold medication and alergy medication as i suffer alergies and im starting to get very depressed about it

        1. If you’re still having problems, it might be a good idea to see a physician. Also, be careful what over the counter medications you use as they may interact in undesirable ways. They may also contain ingredients that overlap causing you to overdose on them.

          Good luck and get back to us and let us know how you’re doing.

  39. I ve had blocked nose and some respiratory( a slight bronquitis) problems for 6 days now. My nose was unblocked today (when I went for a walk outside)but I still could not smell anything!Shouldn’t the smell come back immediatelly after the nose is unblocked?(now it s blocked again, so I assume I still have not recovered from cold).
    ps does air con. can make influence on smell loss?

    1. Give it a little more time. Sounds like the bug still has a hold. If there is no improvement, see your physician. At least, that’s what I would do.

      Be sure and report back to us how you are doing.

    2. I just wanted to say, that today, after I couln’t smell for 8 days, I can smell again (not very strong yet),though my nose is still blocked. When I woke up and brushed my teeth I could not smell toothpaste, so I made eucalyptus inhalations (10 drops of natural eucalyptus extract (which I got from the pharmacy selling natural products)diluted in 200ml of boiling water, covered myself with a towel and was inhaling the vapour through the nose. I m so happy to smell! I went straight to the fridge and had 2 different flavour yogurts, stuck my nose in a coffee jar and even went to smell my shampoo. I just hope it will stay, I mean, the smell. And good luck to all of you, smell can come back, even if it takes a while. I am GUEST nº 10

      1. So glad to hear all is well again. Thanks for getting back to us. I’m sure your welcome news will give hope to many who fear the loss of their sense of smell.

    1. I realized that I lost my sense of smell after I had subsequent colds and sinuses. I was 20 years then, since that time my smell decreased from low to zero. I cant smell now. I have never seen a doctor about this since I lived a remote village in east Africa. I came Canada 2 years ago still didn’t get time to see a doctor due to the struggle of trying to make ends meet. But the moment has come I will see a doctor soon

    1. As mentioned in the post, there are a number of reasons that can cause your loss of smell. If you can’t identify the cause such as an allergy, medication you are using and so forth, I would strongly suggest you pay a visit to your physician. S/he may be able to get to the bottom of the problem or refer you to a specialist.

      Good luck and be sure and get back to us and let us know how you’re doing.

  40. I have a cold and than i bumped my head on a corner of furniture how can i determine what the reason would be i also started alive somans energy vitamins

    1. Wait until you get over the cold. Chances are that’s the culprit. However, if you haven’t regained your sense of smell, it’s time to see your doctor.

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