10 Top tips if you lost your sense of smell after a virus
1. Try not to panic. Most post-viral smell loss is temporary, though some cases do persist. Time will be on your side.
2. See a doctor. Seeking medical advice is important at this stage. Not all GPs and primary care physicians are well acquainted with the subject of anosmia. If you feel your doctor is one of those, you may need to keep trying. Don’t be fobbed off.
3. Be a good observer. Take note of what is happening to you. Try to remember the course of events. Record your medications, whether you were using nasal sprays, and how often. Make observations about the quality of any smells you can perceive. Totally absent, distorted, disgusting. Both nostrils or one? Is there a change at different times of day, or in special circumstances?
4. Join one of the FB group forums for anosmics. “Living Well with Anosmia” is a great discussion group for acquired anosmics who want to find positive ways of navigating a life without smell. “Acquired Anosmia and Parosmia Support Page” and “Parosmia/Anosmia Support Page” are two other groups where you will find people who share something in common with you. Finding someone to talk to who has a shared experience can be a powerful tonic.
5. Get informed, but don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Beware of taking your views from single individuals from whom you might get the impression that their story is like yours. Everyone’s journey is different. Try to read widely, and get your information from fact-based websites. There are no quick cures for anosmia, so be sceptical of anyone who is endorsing a quick fix.
6. Smell loss can get you down. Many patients with severe smell loss experience feelings of alienation, depression and negativity. This won’t happen to everyone, but for some it is a reality. Talk to a family member, trusted friend, or a doctor about your feelings. Seek support -- there is no shame in this. Your feelings are valid.
7. Let a qualified doctor advise you on pharmaceutical therapies. On many websites you will read about drugs that are being tested or are used in specialised clinics that deal with anosmia. Not all of these drugs are advisable for everyone--many have side effects. Only a physician will be able to help you decide what is best for you
8. Try smell training. There is sound scientific research to support this relatively new therapy. It is not a cure, but a way of amplifying and rebuilding any recovery you may experience. For further information, go to www.smelltraining.co.uk.
9. If you are one of the unlucky ones who find their positivity draining away, find out what it is that makes you feel even a bit better, then do it.
10. And most important, if you experience recovery, come back to your support groups and tell them your good news! The recovered often “disappear”, and their voices are not heard. They are out there, but may have sniffed their way off into the sunset.
Time is a great healer.