By Luwana Walton, RN Gayco Nurse Consultant
COVID-19 has changed the way we are relating to nature. Social distancing has moved us to “The Great Outdoor” spaces. COVID-19 has gotten a lot of people to stop and really pay attention to what’s going on outside their windows. Seeing flowers bloom they have never noticed before, and watching and hearing the birds sing. I think people are much more in tune with the natural world. Because we have slowed down we have a chance to just observe and smell the roses. More COVID-19 patients have a loss of smell than have a fever. If you have a sudden-onset smell loss in the absence of other explanatory histories like a head injury, the chance of you being infected is high.
With, the loss of smell (anosmia), being a symptom of COVID-19, it can interfere with these lifestyle changes. Can loss of smell be treated? Steroids have been shown to reduce inflammation in parts of the nasal cavity or in small receptors which are inflamed. Also consuming omega-3 fatty acids and other supplements can help the sense of smell recover. Some smells come back after a while but many of them seemed distorted. The technical term for this is parosmia, which is an inability to detect smells correctly, as opposed to anosmia, which is tantamount to something known as smell blindness.
Smell training involves patients smell individual odors twice a day with their eyes closed. Patients are instructed to gently smell different essential oils or herbs for 20 seconds while concentrating on their memories and experiences with that sent .Commonly used scents are rose, lemon, clove and eucalyptus, but patients can choose scents based on their preference. It is very important to concentrate because the brain has to actually activate the memory of those smells. Your brain has to actually relearn that rose smell like rose and not for example like sewage. Patients who have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19 are giving smell training a chance.