Dr. Thomica James-Evans, medical director at SignatureCare Emergency Center in Plano, TX, says it is common to lose or experience change to your smell or taste after contracting COVID-19.
HOUSTON, TX – Most people who have contracted COVID-19 will experience loss or change to their ability to smell or taste, and emergency room physician, Dr. Thomica James-Evans says that is not unusual.
Speaking to reporters in Dallas, TX, Dr. James-Evans, the medical director at SignatureCare Emergency Center in Plano, TX said regaining those senses is one sign that recovery is taking place.
Scientists believe the reason for the loss of sense of smell or taste after COVID is still unclear. The American Medical Association (AMA) said recently that more 1.6 million Americans have reported losing their sense of smell or taste, or have limited ability six months after contracting COVID.
“The loss of olfaction has been associated with decreased general quality of life, impaired food intake, inability to detect harmful gas and smoke, enhanced worries about personal hygiene, diminished social well-being, and the initiation of depressive symptoms.
“New daily cases of COVID-19, acute incidence of OD (olfactory dysfunction), and rates of recovery suggest that more than 700 000, and possibly as many as 1.6 million, US individuals experience COD (Chronic Olfactory Dysfunction) because of SARS-CoV-2. To put this number in context, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders estimated that, among US adults 40 years or older, measurable OD was found in up to 13.3 million adults,” the AMA said.
“We as humans get a lot of our pleasure in life from food and drinks and smells. If you lose that ability to smell, it really does have an impact on your ability to enjoy simple pleasures in life.”
Dr. James-Evans said doctors expect that those who may have lost their sense of taste or smell as a result of contracting COVID would regain those senses eight days after full recovery or testing negative, but those who fail to do so are considered to be suffering long-term effects of the virus.
According to the board-certified emergency room physician, the loss of smell or taste during COVID infections comes as a result of the inflammation of the olfactory cells in the nose, which makes it difficult for the cells to process information to the brain.
The board-certified physician said people losing tase or smell isn’t new as this has been seen for many years in people with nerve injuries, trauma, or chronic sinusitis. She noted, however, that the loss of taste or smell can cause people to not get proper nutrients due to loss of appetite.
“We as humans get a lot of our pleasure in life from food and drinks and smells,” James-Evans said. “If you lose that ability to smell, it really does have an impact on your ability to enjoy simple pleasures in life.”
She also said this loss of senses could affect how people live or work, especially if they rely on their sense of smell or taste to perform their duties. Those likely to be affected include people in the teaching, culinary arts or public safety professions.
James-Evans advised those dealing with loss of smell or taste after COVID to try at-home remedies like smell training with essential oils including rose, lemon, clove, and eucalyptus.
“If this doesn’t work, they can see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist,” she added.
Dr. Thomica James-Evans is a board-certified emergency room physician. She earned her medical degree from Howard University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Los Angeles County-King Drew Medical School. She has served on numerous governance committees, has served as the Medical Director of four different Emergency Departments, and served as the Chief Medical Officer of a group of freestanding Emergency Departments in the DFW area for four years, before joining SignatureCare Emergency Center.