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  • Harmony Holland

'Smell Training' as a new therapy to tackle covid smell loss

Having the ability to taste and smell helps us to identify our taste buds, perceive time and even encourage our memory recall, so imagine losing this superpower entirely. Losing your sense of smell is one of many covid-19 symptoms, but for many long-term covid sufferers, it may take several months for their smell loss to recover.

As part of the road to recovery, researchers call for sufferers to use 'smell training' to help regain and refine their sense of smell. Smell training was first introduced by Professor Thomas Hummel in 2009 to retrain the loss of sense of smell in anosmia sufferers and has since become popular due to the onset of covid-19.

Professor Carl Philpot is a lead researcher in scent training and is currently helping to run studies with post-covid patients. Although data is yet to be published, Philpot and fellow researchers are hopeful. As a Professor of Rhinology and Olfactology at Norwich Medical School, he expresses the importance of the rehabilitation technique, claiming that it restimulates the smell pathways in the nose through exposure to various odours, twice a day.

Philpot explains that these pathways should be exposed to four types of scents for two minutes, twice a day to be successful. While the latest studies show that you have a better outcome if you are exposed to different scents, every 12 weeks. The process can take between 3 months to a year, and although it's time-consuming, it's a simple method that's completely free from side effects.

This technique can also be carried out from the comfort of your own home, making it easier to administer in your spare time. Philpot suggests using anything from your cupboards that are infused with strong scents and were familiar to you before the onset of covid-19. It's important to utilise the pungency of liquid forms, which are more beneficial compared to solid forms. This can be vanilla essence, vinegar or even your favourite perfume/aftershave.

What do you think about 'smell training' as a recovery method?

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