A cold affects both your sense of smell and your sense of taste. When you lose your sense of smell, enjoying food and drink cannot be easy. A stuffy nose or sinus infection can impair your ability to smell and taste. However, you can recover your sense of smell and taste after a cold or flu. Following are some suggestions to help you regain your sense of scent and flavor after a cold or flu. Taste and smell work together to enhance food enjoyment or warn you when it has gone bad.
Over 200,000 Trusted Source patients seek treatment for taste or odor problems yearly. Because these senses are so intertwined, what appears to be a loss of taste is a loss of smell, and true taste loss (ageusia) is rare.
Many conditions can impair taste, but the taste usually returns once the underlying cause is addressed. Taste loss could be caused by COVID-19 or another viral infection, which can last even after the infection has cleared.
Loss of taste may resolve on its own or by treating the underlying cause, depending on the cause. Meanwhile, resist the urge to season your food with extra sugar or salt. Experiment with a variety of foods, herbs, and spices.
Please keep reading to learn about some of the causes of taste and smell loss and how to regain them.
Here are Some Remedies
Some Home Remedies for Restoring Taste and Smell:
Oil Extracted from Castor Seeds
Fill each nostril with one drop of warm castor oil. Repeat the procedure twice daily for the best results, and this practice is beneficial in reducing inflammation.
you should add 2 to 3 chopped garlic pods to a cup of water. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. After the mixture has completely cooled, strain it and drink it. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic compounds can help treat a stuffy nose.
Take a peeled ginger slice and chew it slowly.” Begin chewing the ginger regularly. If you cannot chew the ginger directly, drink ginger tea daily. Ginger has a strong aroma that can stimulate your senses of smell and taste.
Combine ten peppermint leaves in a cup of water. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. After the solution has cooled, strain it and stir in some honey. Drink it immediately. Menthol is the main component of peppermint leaves, and it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, as well as the ability to affect your sense of smell and taste.
Consume Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water can help you get rid of an annoying cough. Water keeps the body hydrated, which can help avoid odor and taste problems.
What are Some Other Reasons to Lose Taste and Smell?
With that, we’ll also see how to restore them.
COVID-19 patients frequently report a change or loss of taste.
In an April 2021 studyTrusted Source, researchers discovered that in a group of 200 people with mild to moderate COVID-19:
- 7% have lost their sense of taste (but not smell)
- 4% of the population has lost their senses of smell and taste.
- 4.5 percent of the population has lost their sense of smell (but not taste)
Within 14 days, everyone who had lost their taste had it restored. People who lost their sense of smell regained it within 21 days, except for two who developed a long-term loss of smell.
In a review of studies, researchers discovered that impairment of taste or smell frequently occurred before other COVID-19 symptoms.
Only a small percentage of people may experience long-term loss or a change in taste.
It’s unclear why COVID-19 can affect your taste. However, researchers discovered that angiotensin-converting enzyme receptors are present in the epithelial cells of your mouth, including taste bud cells (ACE2). The virus that causes COVID-19 can enter cells through these receptors.
COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, and fatigue. Breathing problems or chest pain are signs of a medical emergency.
Loss of taste, even without other symptoms, may indicate COVID-19, so consult a doctor or sign up for a test with a community provider. If you test positive, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. For fever and pain, use over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Upper Respiratory Illness
Any infection of the upper respiratory tract can impair your sense of taste. Upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold and influenza can cause nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing. The flu can also cause fever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, changes in taste or smell are more common with COVID-19 than with the flu.
The following medications are used to treat cold and flu symptoms:
- cough medicines and throat lozenges
- prescription flu medicines
Antibiotics do not affect viral infections like the common cold or flu. They’re good for bacterial infections like strep throat and some ear infections.
It would help if you regained your sense of taste as the infection clears. Some viral infections can cause permanent taste impairment.
Allergies and Sinus Problems
Allergies and sinus infections can cause inflammation and congestion, impairing the senses of smell and taste. The following medications are used to treat sinus infections:
- nasal sprays or rinses
- OTC pain relievers
Most people gradually regain their sense of smell and taste as their other symptoms improve.
Nasal polyps are painless bumps that form in the nasal passages or sinuses. They are caused by chronic inflammation, which has been linked to:
- infection that recurs
- Immune dysfunctions
- drug hypersensitivity
Aside from taste and smell loss, other symptoms may include stuffiness and a runny nose.
Upper tooth pain and pressure on the face, headaches, snoring, and nosebleeds.
Taste loss was caused by rhinosinusitis. Around 60% of those in the study had chronic rhinosinusitis with polyps.
Medication prescribed by a doctor can help you reduce nasal polyps. We can surgically remove polyps, but they can reappear.
Some medications have the potential to alter or impair your sense of taste. Here are a few examples:
- psychedelic medications
- medications for the bladder
- antihistamines \santibiotics
- cholesterol-lowering drugs
- medications for high blood pressure
Some medications cause dry mouth, which makes tasting food difficult.
If you notice that your medication is affecting your taste, don’t stop taking it until you’ve discussed alternatives with your doctor. In the meantime, try to keep your mouth moist.
Chemotherapy and head or neck radiation can alter or impair your sense of taste, which usually goes away once treatment is completed. Meanwhile, here are some alternatives:
- Cold foods, which may be more flavorful than hot foods, should be consumed.
- Consume plenty of water.
- Brush your teeth before and after eating.
- Ask your doctor about products that can help with dry mouth.
- We can alleviate a metallic taste using mints, gum, and plastic utensils instead of metal.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, can cause a loss of smell and taste. Other factors that contribute to eating and nutritional issues are as follows:
- having difficulty recognizing foods
- difficulty following the steps of eating a meal
Switching medications may be beneficial wherever possible, but taste loss caused by dementia and aging is unlikely to improve significantly. A registered dietitian can provide meal planning and nutritional advice.
Some nutritional deficiencies can cause a loss of taste. Zinc, for example, is necessary for your taste and smell. A healthy, varied diet should provide you with enough zinc. Zinc is present in various foods, including chicken, red meat, fortified breakfast cereals, and many others.
Women need 8 milligrams per day, whereas men need 11 milligrams.
Reliable source If you believe you are zinc deficient, talk to your doctor about your diet and whether you should take a supplement. Only take supplements after consulting with your doctor.
Anything that affects the mouth can certainly affect your sense of taste, such as:
- extraction of wisdom teeth
- Infection of gum disease
- insufficient oral hygiene
See a dentist if you have any other dental symptoms, such as mouth pain, swelling, or a bad taste in your mouth. Treating the source of the problem should help you regain your sense of taste. Good oral hygiene includes regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing.
It’s common to lose your sense of smell and taste as you age. However, losing your sense of taste completely is not normal. Consult a doctor if you are experiencing a loss of taste or other symptoms. Identifying and treating the underlying cause may assist you in regaining your taste.
High levels of exposure to certain chemicals may contribute to taste loss. Pesticides, for example, can impair your sense of smell and taste for a long time.
Trauma to the Brain
A head injury can impair your sense of smell and taste. The extent and location of the injury dictate how long it lasts and how it is treated.
Taste changes or a loss of taste can be symptoms of:
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)
- Although this is not always the case, symptoms may improve as the underlying condition is treated.
When Should you See a Doctor?
You will most likely lose your sense of taste when you have a cold, allergies, or the flu. In some cases, however, it may signify a more serious condition. It can lead to under or overeating, malnutrition, and a lower quality of life if it persists for an extended period.
Consult a doctor if your loss of taste lasts longer than a few days, appears unexpectedly, or is accompanied by other symptoms.
Your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
Determining the Root Cause
A discussion of your symptoms, a review of your medical history, and a physical examination of your ears, nose, and throat precede the diagnosis. An ENT doctor may ask you to taste and compare various items to determine the extent of your taste problems.
This will help determine the cause of the problem or the next steps in the diagnostic process.
How do I Handle Odor Loss?
It can be difficult to adjust when you lose your sense of smell. Smell and emotion are inextricably linked in the brain. You must consult your doctor if you are experiencing overwhelming and negative emotions.
How can I Regain my Smell Sense?
The sense of smell usually recovers on its own, but it can sometimes take months or even years.
By educating yourself, you can help yourself. Keep an eye out for new research on your specific type of smell loss.
Keeping a smell sensation diary will assist you in noticing changes in your perception of smells.
Try not to imagine yourself regaining your ‘normal’ sense of smell. Normal is highly subjective, and smell tests frequently reveal that a patient’s sense of smell is better – or worse – than they believe.
Don’t give up on asking for help. A diary can help you keep track of your progress and is useful when meeting with healthcare professionals.
To me, Nothing Tastes Good. Have I Lost *Both* My Smell and Taste Senses?
To understand what is going on, you must first understand the technical definitions and differences between taste and smell experiences:
True taste refers to tongue and mouth sensations such as salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory (umami). The tongue has receptors for these basic tastes, as well as creaminess. Even in the absence of smell, we can feel these sensations. Most people who have lost their sense of smell, for example, can tell the difference between sugar and salt.
When we sniff something (ortho-nasal olfaction) or chew food, the molecules that cause the smell waft up the back of our throat.
True taste (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory) is combined with retro-nasal olfaction. When the smell goes away, the flavor goes with it. People mistakenly believe that because flavor occurs in the mouth, their sense of taste has vanished; however, most people who suffer from smell loss retain their full sense of taste.
The senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked, and both are required to appreciate food fully.
Allergies, colds, and influenza are just a few conditions that can impair your taste. Normal taste usually returns as other symptoms fade.
If you have a persistent loss of taste, regardless of whether you have other symptoms, see a doctor. It could signify something more serious, and COVID-19 is also linked to taste loss.
Treatment of the underlying cause can assist you in regaining control of your taste buds.