Coronavirus: why might we lose our sense of smell and taste?
In this video, we speak to Peter Brennan, Reader in Physiology from the University of Bristol who tells us about two possible reasons why losing our sense of smell and taste might be a symptom of COVID-19.
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Recently, there have been reports of patients with COVID-19 losing their sense of taste and smell. So, what could be causing this?
Well, we don’t know exactly, but one of our Members, Peter Brennan, Reader in Physiology from the University of Bristol, tells us that there are two possible explanations:
Let’s say you have something nice cooking in the oven. As it’s baking, it releases particles that waft into your nasal cavity and attach to olfactory sensory neurons - the cells that detect what we smell and then signal this information to the brain.
COVID-19 could be killing off these olfactory sensory neurons, keeping the signal of what you’ve just smelled from getting to your brain.
Another possibility is that inflammation, part of the body’s response to fight off COVID-19, causes swelling in the nose that blocks off the airflow and prevent odour molecules from getting to the olfactory sensory neurons.
When we talk about how this relates to lack of taste, what we are really referring to is lack of flavour. Our taste buds are still sensing sweetness or saltiness but we process the complex flavours of food by combining these tastes with what we smell. This is why when we have a blocked nose and can’t smell our food, it often tastes bland!
COVID-19 and Loss of Smell Explained
In this video, Dr Mike explains what we currently know about why some people with COVID-19 transiently lose their sense of smell.
He discusses the proposed mechanism of action.
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Covid-19 and The Loss of Taste and Smell
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused catastrophe all over the world. There are a plethora of symptoms that have been identified that can help with the diagnosis. However, the loss of the sense of smell and taste is a symptom that is quite interesting. In this video, we will explain the mechanism behind losing our sense of smell and taste and share a story of how COVID-19 has affected an individual.
This video was made by McMaster Demystifying Medicine Students: Manpreet Chopra, Jasleen Gill, Zoe Huang, Sriraam Sivachandran, Melanie Yang.
Copyright McMaster University 2021
Brann, D., Tsukahara, T., Weinreb, C., Logan, D. W., & Datta, S. R. (2020). Non-neural expression of SARS-CoV-2 entry genes in the olfactory epithelium suggests mechanisms underlying anosmia in COVID-19 patients. BioRxiv, 2020.03.25.009084.
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Choi, R., & Goldstein, B. J. (2018). Olfactory epithelium: Cells, clinical disorders, and insights from an adult stem cell niche. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, 3(1), 35–42.
Dong, E., Du, H., & Gardner, L. (2020). An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time. The Lancet infectious diseases, 20(5), 533-534.
Eshraghi, A. A., Mirsaeidi, M., Davies, C., Telischi, F. F., Chaudhari, N., & Mittal, R. (2020). Potential Mechanisms for COVID-19 Induced Anosmia and Dysgeusia. Frontiers in Physiology, 11.
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Samaranayake, L. P., Fakhruddin, K. S., Panduwawala, C. 2020. Sudden onset, acute loss of taste and smell in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a systematic review. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 78(6), 467-473. 10.1080/00016357.2020.1787505
Septh, M. M., Singer-Cornelius, T., Oberle, M., Gengler, I., Brockmeier, S. J., Sedaghat, A. (2020). Olfactory dysfunction and sinonasal symptomatology in Covid-19: prevalence, severity, timing, and associated characteristics. Sage Journal, 163(1), 114-120.
Subbarao, K., & Mahanty, S. (2020). Respiratory Virus Infections: Understanding COVID-19. Immunity, 52(6), 905–909.
Tenforde, M.W., Kim, S.S., Lindsell. C.J., et al. (2020). Symptom duration and risk factors for delayed return to usual health among outpatients with COVID-19 in a multistate health care systems network — United States, March-June 2020, CDC Wkly Rep 2020, 69,
World Health Organization. (2020). WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19. Geneva, CH. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): How is it transmitted?. Geneva, CH. Retrieved
Why Do Coronavirus Patients Lose Their Sense of Taste and Smell?
Dr. Robert Kern, chair of the Otolaryngology department at Northwestern University, explains why coronavirus infections may result in the loss of taste and smell, a phenomenon known as anosmia. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #CoronavirusSymptoms #CoronavirusTips
The coronavirus is capable of attacking key cells in the nose, which may explain the unusual finding that some Covid-19 sufferers lose their ability to smell and taste, Harvard Medical School researchers found.
Their study of human and mice genomic data found certain cells at the back of the nose harbor the distinctly shaped proteins that the coronavirus targets to invade the body. Infection of these cells could directly or indirectly lead to an altered sense of smell, they said in a paper published Saturday.
Doctors around the world are reporting anecdotal Covid-19 cases in which patients have experienced an abrupt and unexplained total or partial loss of smell and taste. The conditions, known medically as anosmia and dysgeusia, respectively, are “significant symptoms” associated with the pandemic, the American Academy of Otolaryngology, or head and neck surgery, said on March 22.
The group, based in Alexandria, Virginia, proposes that these symptoms be added to the list of screening tools for possible Covid-19 infection. People experiencing the symptoms in the absence of other known causes should consider self-isolation and get tested, the group said.
Inflammation in the nasal cavity triggered by the pandemic-causing infection may hinder the sense of smell, David Brann and Sandeep Robert Datta of the Harvard Medical School’s neurobiology department said. But it’s also possible the virus infects and damages cells in the nasal epithelium required for normal olfactory function.
Uncovering the cause of the sensory loss has important implications to support diagnosis and determine the effects of the disease, the researchers said.
“Furthermore, patients with persistent olfactory dysfunction are at risk of nutritional deficits, of injury due to the inability to smell ‘danger’ odors like smoke, gas and spoiled foods, and of developing psychiatric disorders, particularly depression,” they said.
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Coronavirus Symptoms: How Do You Lose Your Sense Of Taste & Smell?
You must have heard about various Covid-19 patients mentioning how their loss of smell and taste was one of the symptoms. But do you know why Covid-19 patients lose their sense of taste or smell? Watch to find out.
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Is losing sense of smell or taste a symptom? Coronavirus Outbreak Answers | COVID-19 in Context
Is losing sense of smell or taste a symptom? Coronavirus Outbreak Answers | COVID-19 in Context. Dr. Richard Carvolth, Chief Medical Executive at Dignity Health Sacramento, answers your medical and health questions.
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Latest research: Long-covid and the loss of smell | COVID-19 Special
COVID-19 infections often lead to a loss of smell. The impact can be serious - fires may burn unnoticed, COVID survivors may lose interest in eating, or fall into a deep depression. Let's look at the strange ways COVID is tied up with our noses and neural networks.
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COVID-19: Losing Your Sense of Smell featuring Richard Doty, PhD
Dr. Richard Doty, the Director of the Smell and Taste Center, discusses losing your sense of smell during COVID-19.
0:31 How Do Viruses Affect Sense of Smell?
1:26 What Research is Being Done and What Do We Know So Far?
2:25 What If I Think I’m Losing My Sense of Smell?
4:20 How is Penn ENT Currently Operating and What are Your Plans Moving Forward?
5:50 Why is Our Sense of Smell So Important?
6:59 Can I Call Penn ENT During the Pandemic?
COVID-19 Symptoms: Is loss of smell & taste permanent? Loss of smell & taste also impacts appetite
Loss of the sense of smell and taste have been recognised as key symptoms of the COVID-19 infection. But is this loss permanent? WION tells you, How long do you have to wait to regain these senses?
#COVID19 #Smell #Taste
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Covid-19 Treatment Tips and Symptoms Update
How I'm recovering from Covid-19 and new symptoms: loss of smell, loss of taste, and how I plan to get my sense of smell back. *NEW video* How to Get Your Smell Back:
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Why does COVID-19 steal your sense of taste and smell?
The virus has a more intense impact on your senses than others
ASK UNMC! If I lose my sense of smell and taste due to COVID-19 will it return?
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Lost Your Sense of Smell? Heres How to Get it Back!
Dr. Christy explains olfactory training and how to get your sense of smell back if it's been lost from COVID-19 infection.
What happens when you lose your sense of smell due to COVID-19?
Julie Walsh-Messinger, a psychologist at the University of Dayton who studies olfaction, or the sense of smell, explains how COVID-19 affects the sense, what it's like for people who lose it, and the hidden role that smell plays in our lives.
The full article is available to read at The Conversation US.
COVID patients lose taste and smell
COVID patients now have a new symptoms to worry about when experiencing loss of smell, an altered sense of smell.
MorningLine: Loss of Smell & Taste In Some COVID-19 Patients P.1
As we all know, COVID-19 affects each person differently, and one of the symptoms that some patients could develop is the loss of smell and taste. On today's Morningline, Nick Beres is joined by Dr. Justin Turner, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at Vanderbilt, to discuss why this happens and what are they doing to help patients. Be sure to watch.
Loss of taste and smell: early COVID-19 symptoms? | National Kidney Foundation
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This video is for: Anyone looking to learn more about the early signs and symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including loss of sense of smell and taste. This video is great for those looking for advice regarding kidney disease, kidney transplant, and kidney failure (ESRD).
Concepts: covid-19, early coronavirus symptoms, early covid-19 symptoms, covid19, loss of taste, loss of smell, lost of taste covid-19, loss of smell covid-19, coronavirus loss of taste and smell, symptoms, coronavirus, new covid-19 symptoms, symptoms of coronavirus, 2019-ncov symptoms, covid-19 updates, coronavirus news, covid-19 tests, signs and symptoms, coronavirus symptoms cough, new coronavirus symptom
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Hong Kong research may explain why Covid-19 carriers lose sense of taste
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Following weeks of reported symptoms and clinical evidence, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recognised the loss of taste and smell as indications of Covid-19 infection. Now a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong have learned more about how the coronavirus that causes the disease affects these senses. The South China Morning Post’s Elaine Ly spoke with John Nicholls, a Clinical Professor in Pathology at HKU about what the team discovered.
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Recover Lost Sense of Taste and Smell COVID Recovery Tips
By now, we all know that a lost sense of taste and smell is fairly common if you have COVID-19. The good news is that for most people, loss of smell or taste doesn't last too long. But if you've been missing the scent of your favourite shower gel or your morning coffee, you might be wondering what you can do to bring your senses back. Here are our top tips for a full-health recovery.
When you're working on a full-body recovery, it can be easy to miss a few things here or there. We don't want you to miss out on your sense of taste or smell, so we've put together some tips for recovering it as you recover from COVID-19. At Babylon, we want our approach to be as holistic as possible. That includes addressing symptoms and side effects that may cause you some grief.
If you experience a sudden loss of taste or smell, schedule a virtual doctor's appointment. You may have contracted COVID-19.
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1. Cooper KW, Brann DH, Farruggia MC, et al. COVID-19 and the Chemical Senses: Supporting Players Take Center Stage. Neuron. 2020;107(2):219-233.
2. Hopkins C, Alalnin M, Philpott C, et al. Management of new onset loss of sense of smell during the COVID-19 pandemic - BRS Consensus Guidelines. ttps://
3. ABscent( and Fifth Sense(
Few people experience persistent smell loss | COVID-19 Special
A study of 2,500 patients, who lost their sense of smell and or taste, showed 40% of them had completely regained it -- half a year later. 2% reported no improvement whatsoever. Scientists believe COVID attacks the cells that help communicate what we're smelling. We can lose our appetite or worse still, the will to live.
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#COVID19 #Smell #Taste
Heres why some COVID patients lose sense of smell, taste
Thousands of people who have been infected with COVID-19 have reported symptoms of losing smell and taste. Scientists are figuring out why this happens.
Woman loses taste, smell senses when contracting Covid-19
Imagine what it would be like if your sense of smell and taste disappeared overnight - that's exactly what happened to 23-year-old Sarah Miller shortly before she was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Some overseas doctors want the sudden loss of smell and taste to be considered an official symptom of Covid-19 - particularly in people who are not showing any other outward signs of the disease.
Sarah is locked down in Taranaki. She tells Lisa Owen how she knew things were not right.
Altered Sense of Smell and Taste in COVID 19
About 45% of patients complain of anosmia/dysosmia or altered sense of smell and taste. Duration of these symptoms may last for more than four weeks in about 10% of patients. This topic was presented and discussed with my colleagues at the Iraqi Kurdistan Society otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and sponsored by Pharma International company.
Is Loss of Smell or Taste a Symptom of Coronavirus?
Dr. Hao “Mimi” Tran recently received a call from one of her dear friends who asked, “Is loss of smell or taste a symptom of coronavirus? Will I get my sense of smell and taste back?” She had recently contracted coronavirus, COVID-19, and was still in quarantine.
She found out she had the virus 8 days after testing.
Interestingly, in some cases, sudden loss of smell or taste may be the only symptom of COVID-19. This has been seen worldwide according to doctors in France, Northern Italy, the UK, Germany and South Korea.
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Why Are People Losing Smell After Recovering From COVID-19?
70% of people report decreased or loss of smell and/or taste after being infected with COVID-19 and about 10% of them have persistent loss of smell for months after recovering from infection. We are going to talk about what may be causing these changes in smell and taste (neuroinvasion? epithelial damage?), how long they may last, and what may be used to treat the symptoms.
We are going to use a case study to assist in this discussion on a 65 year old woman with persistent loss of smell and taste for 3 months after she recovered from COVID-19. She had a negative PCR swab, but was positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. They did an extensive workup and found that her symptoms seemed to stem from epithelial damage around the olfactory nerves (nerves that sense smell). This is important as one of the theories of this loss of smell was neuroinvasion, or direct viral invasion of the nerves that can travel to the brain. This doesn't seem to be the case, rather it seems that the epithelial cells around these nerves are being destroyed from invasion of the virus and then that is causing the nerves to be damaged. We will discuss how this works and what this means. We will then go into what treatments have been tried, have been effective, and still need to be studied further. Check out the video for all of these details and more!
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There will be a running series of videos using the most up to date information on COVID-19, but this is an evolving field and new videos may come out that contradict that previous information. That is okay and is the nature of a fast paced and evolving clinical scenario. Stick with us as we work to unveil the intricacies of COVID-19, it's clinical significance, and the societal implications. ***This is strictly educational and not to be mistaken as clinical recommendations, please verify all information with accepted guidelines and practice patterns.***
THIS VIDEO DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read, watched, or listened to on this video, or any other videos, reports, texts tweets or other sources.
Extended interview: How regain loss of taste and smell after COVID-19
5 On Your Side’s Tracy Hinson interviewed two St. Louis area doctors:
-Dr. Jastin Antisdel, a SLUCare Otolaryngologist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital
-Dr. Jay Piccirillo, a Professor of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine
They explain what treatments are currently available to treat the loss of taste and smell, as well as the work researchers are doing.
COVID-19: Effects on Sense of Smell and Taste
Dr. Alfred-Marc Iloreta discuss COVID-19 and the effects on sense of smell and taste.
Smell therapy: Helping recovered COVID-19 patients regain their sense of smell
One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a distorted sense of smell and taste. For some patients, the problem persists long after they recover, bringing increased urgency to research aimed at understanding and treating the disorder. Scientists are still trying to pinpoint exactly why it happens in the first place.
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How long does it take to get your sense of smell back?
Dr. Jen Ashton answers your questions about COVID-19 and seasonal allergies.
Try This Trick to Get Your Sense of Taste Back Post-COVID?
The Doctors break down a popular TikTok health hack to see if it actually works. The trend? Eating a charred orange to get your taste and smell back after COVID. Ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Andrew Ordon shares that there is some very good science behind this hack.
How Oranges May Help You Get Your Taste and Smell Back
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About The Doctors: The Doctors is an Emmy award-winning daytime talk show hosted by ER physician Dr. Travis Stork and co-hosted by plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon, along with dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra, OB-GYN Dr. Nita Landry, and neuropsychologist Dr. Judy Ho.
The Doctors helps you understand the latest health headlines, delivers exclusive interviews with celebrities dealing with health issues, debates and investigates health and safety claims, explains the latest viral videos and how you can avoid emergency situations, and serves up celebrity chefs to share the hottest and healthiest recipes and foods.
Some COVID-19 survivors losing sense of taste, smell for months
Jennie Runevitch reports one puzzling side effect of COVID-19, the loss of taste and smell, may also last well-beyond the initial illness.
Ways to regain senses of smell and taste after COVID-19
ST. LOUIS - Some people who had COVID-19 are looking for ways to regain their senses of smell and taste.
Doctors are working with patients on a variety of treatments from therapy to medication.
Jim Dean from St. Louis County tested positive for COVID-19 in November
I was considered severe, Dean said. It lasted for about 30 days total.
Months later, Dean says peanut butter and pasta sauce taste foul. He describes certain foods as metallic and others as sewage-like.
Dean told 5 On Your Side he thought he was going crazy.
It's a feeling Dr. Jay Piccirillo a Professor of Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine says is typical.
It's very disorienting for the patients and we've had people say 'you know doc, when I had no sense of smell that was better than what I have now, the parosmia can be very disturbing, Dr. Piccirillo said.
Loss of smell with a SARS-CoV2 infection
Discusses recent theories of why many lose their sense of smell, also known as anosmia, with a SARS-CoV2 infection and why most will completely recover.
How smell training is helping COVID-19 patients recover their olfactory sense
Loss of smell is a common symptom of COVID-19. Though a majority of patients recover their olfactory sense within weeks, some researchers estimate that 10% suffer long-term smell dysfunction. Los Angeles Times reporter Brittny Mejia looked into why this occurs and what people can do to regain their sense of smell.
New Research Explores How COVID-19 Affects Sense of Smell
There are still many unknowns surrounding COVID-19. Among these is the mysterious loss of taste and smell. Dr. Sandeep Robert Datta, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, shares his recent findings.
Regaining taste and smell after COVID isnt always smooth
Since Brittany Fromm got COVID-19 last year, water smells like bleach, red wine tastes like gasoline, and her favorite donuts are essentially flavorless. FULL STORY:
COVID-19: Loss of Taste! ????
A significant portion of people who test positive for COVID-19 experience a sudden loss of smell or taste. People usually notice the loss of smell, but because smell is necessary to taste flavour, the symptoms are often connected.
The reason this happens is not fully understood yet; scientists believe that the virus causes an inflammatory reaction inside the nose, leading to a loss of the olfactory – or smell – neurons. The loss of taste is trickier; we have little idea about how the coronavirus affects taste.
Many people still haven’t gotten their senses back! If you needed another reason to keep being careful, here it is. Let’s keep doing our part to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Stay home, continue to enjoy your senses. ????????????
How Do I Get My Senses Back After a Cold? | This Morning
Dr Zoe and Dr Sara offer medical advice to callers.
VERIFY: Loss of smell and taste are symptoms of COVID-19
The evidence has been building, and new research of U.S. patients makes the strongest connection yet.
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How to restore the loss of smell and taste after COVID-19
Registered dietician Jessi Holden at Mary Free Bed shares 5 ways to regain the senses of smell and taste.
Loss of smell, taste due to COVID-19 becoming more common among infected patients
The loss of smell and taste among COVID-19 patients has many in the medical community baffled, and it is not as uncommon as you think.
VERIFY: A sudden loss of smell or taste might be A COVID-19 indicator
Several articles over the past few days have recently reported that a loss of smell or taste might signal that a person has been infected with the new coronavirus.
Regaining your sense of smell after COVID-19
Intermountain Healthcare shares the steps you can take to regain your sense of smell after COVID-19.
Can’t smell suddenly? You could have coronavirus
A sudden loss of smell and taste could be a sign of mild coronavirus disease. Covid-19 symptoms include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Those with a sudden loss of smell must home-quarantine and get tested for coronavirus disease. Very few conditions lead to sudden amnosia, or the loss of smell and taste. It should be treated as a sign of coronavirus disease, especially by people who risk exposure at the frontlines, such as health workers. People with a sudden loss of smell are 10 times more likely to have Covid-19 than any other infection, according to a study by the University of California in San Diego. The effect was temporary and patients recovered taste and smell within a few weeks of infection.
Losing your sense of smell or taste could mean you have coronavirus, even if you have no other sympt
Losing your sense of smell or taste could mean you have coronavirus, even if you have no other symptoms
How Can COVID Affect Your Sense of Smell?
By now you’ve probably heard that one of the lingering symptoms of COVID-19 is the debilitating loss of smell and taste that so many people experience. It turns out, this defining symptom can hang on long after the patient has recovered. Interestingly, the symptom is more prevalent in mild COVID cases. One recent study showed 86% of patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 experienced olfactory disruption, while only four to seven percent of patients with more severe coronavirus symptoms also lost their sense of smell.
Eyewitness News Channel 9, WFTV, recently interviewed Dr. Hao “Mimi” Tran, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified otolaryngologist at The Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery Associates. Her practice is seeing a rise in the number of patients troubled by a lack of smell after a bout with COVID-19. She stated, “Smell is one of those senses that we take for granted until we lose it.”
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Ive Lost My Sense Of Smell And Taste | This Morning
Dr Raj and Dr Sara offer medical advice to callers.
Verify: Can the coronavirus cause you to lose your sense of smell or taste?
Experiencing the symptoms...experts say you may need to self-quarantine.
Study reveals how COVID-19 smell loss differs from common cold
A new research has revealed how smell loss associated with COVID-19 infection differs from what you typically might experience with a bad cold or flu.
What Causes Loss of Smell and Taste?
| What causes loss of smell and taste?
Loss of smell and taste are commonly caused by brain trauma, they can be caused by trauma to the face, the nose. It can be caused by concussion, it can be caused by lots of different types of head trauma. Loss of smell causes loss of taste. This has to do with an injury to the olfactory nerve, which is the nerve that controls smell and it's very susceptible to injury.
Loss of smell and taste is present in 25% of the traumatic brain injuries. So it's a fairly prevalent injury. It has serious consequences, if you cannot smell taste, you cannot detect if you're eating rotten food. You cannot detect toxic fumes. You also may experience excessive weight loss or gain because you no longer enjoy food and you have an inability to taste it. It is important for brain injury attorney to understand the significance of the loss of smell and taste and the repercussions that has on someone's life.
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