Why has my sense of smell not returned even after a month of COVID-19?

Q. How long does it take for the sense of smell to return after COVID-19?

Answered by
Dr. Bhadragiri Vageesh Padiyar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 22, 2020 and last reviewed on: Aug 09, 2023

Hi doctor,

Recently, I had a positive result for COVID-19 a month back. I was symptom-free for 16 days and after that, I lost my sense of smell. I cannot smell anything. Can I able to regain my sense of smell?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

It is perfectly normal as seventy percent of patients with COVID-19 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) positive have complaints of anosmia and altered sense of taste (dysgeusia). Loss of smell and taste occurs suddenly in eighty percent of patients while in the rest, it occurs gradually. The virus attacks the olfactory receptors in the base of the skull affecting smell processing and effective transmission to occur. Thus, this results in a loss of perception of a smell.

The processing areas of smell and taste are located closer in the brain and they work in synchronization. When smell processing gets affected, then taste perception comes down and so the affected person gets an altered perception of taste and then complete loss. Other immunocompromised patients can have other complaints such as headaches, weakness, fever associated with it and some patients can have a loss of taste and smell alone.

It takes approximately four months on average to get fifty percent of both smell and taste sensations back. This time duration can vary and there is nothing to be worried. There is no time-tested medication now to bring back the functions of taste and smell in a quick and effective manner. I am sure that both the perception of smell and taste will improve soon and you will be fine soon.

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