Ask the Doctor: ‘I think I may have bunions — how can I know for sure, and is it genetic?’
Ask the Doctor: ‘I think I may have bunions — how can I know for...

Sarah Gill

5 travel packing hacks, according to a travel expert
5 travel packing hacks, according to a travel expert

Megan Virgo

20 under-€15 interiors buys we’re eyeing up this week
20 under-€15 interiors buys we’re eyeing up this week

Megan Burns

Real Weddings: Amber and Benjamin’s rustic Italian wedding
Real Weddings: Amber and Benjamin’s rustic Italian wedding

IMAGE

This modern country escape in West Cork is on the market for €400,000
This modern country escape in West Cork is on the market for €400,000

Sarah Finnan

Weekend Guide: 11 of the best events happening around Ireland
Weekend Guide: 11 of the best events happening around Ireland

Sarah Gill

Top tips on saving for a home from a financial advisor
Top tips on saving for a home from a financial advisor

Nick Charalambous

Inside this incredible €3.6 million Howth house suspended over a private lake
Inside this incredible €3.6 million Howth house suspended over a private lake

Sarah Finnan

Coffee Culture: FiXX Coffee founder Anne Abberton
Coffee Culture: FiXX Coffee founder Anne Abberton

Sarah Gill

Women in Sport: Olympic swimmer Mona McSharry
Women in Sport: Olympic swimmer Mona McSharry

Sarah Gill

Image / Self / Health & Wellness

Ask the Doctor: ‘After having Covid, my smell and taste changed massively. Is there a solution?’


By Sarah Gill
13th Jun 2023
Ask the Doctor: ‘After having Covid, my smell and taste changed massively. Is there a solution?’

All your burning health questions answered by the professionals.

“I had Covid last July. I was really sick for two days but had a cough that lasted two to three weeks. I was fine then until the middle of August I was making coffee one morning and there was a terrible smell from it and a rank taste and from that day on, everything smells weird, or I can’t get smells others get, and my taste is very much changed. Most things taste of onions, even porridge, and it’s especially bad with hot foods. Cold foods are not as bad. I took some herbs for a few months which were supposed to rid my system of the virus but they were no help. Is there any solution at all please?”

long covid

Answer from Prof Seamus Linnane, Deputy Medical Director Of Beacon Hospital, Consultant in Respiratory & General Internal Medicine

I am so sorry to hear the difficulties you are suffering. It sounds like you had an acute Covid infection last summer which settled after several weeks but then several weeks later you developed very unpleasant symptoms relating to your sense of taste and smell which have persisted for almost a year.

Your story is consistent with Long Covid symptoms and is medically termed dysgeusia. This can have profound impacts on quality of life, the simple pleasures of eating can affect your nutritional balance as your normal eating practices have been disrupted. You have noticed that varying food temperatures can lessen the impact, other people notice that certain textures or flavours can be better or worse. Maintain good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing. Ensure your dental check-ups are up to date. Some people find mouthwashes can help. Avoid dehydration and ensure an adequate daily water intake.

Olfactory rehabilitation is a process of smelling essential oils daily to gradually re-educate your sense of smell and therefore taste. Clove, eucalyptus, rose and citrus are the most commonly recommended. Sometimes peppermint is also included. Vitamin deficiency, especially of B12 can also be a contributory factor which may require a blood test to identify. Some medications can alter your sense of taste or smell so check the data sheets of any regular medications you take. Medicines.ie is a really helpful database of medicines available in Ireland with detailed information and side effects of thousands of products if you don’t have access to the data sheets.

Some specialists recommend nasal steroids especially where there are allergies or nasal congestion. This generally requires a doctor’s visit which brings us on to the fact that this has persisted for so long. At this point it is worth considering whether there is something else responsible such as a chronic infection of the sinus or airways. It is definitely worth while seeking your general practitioner’s advice on this and whether testing or referral is appropriate.

In summary you have distressing symptoms of an uncommon but well recognised complication of Acute Covid infection but can be caused by other issues. There are practical ways to minimise this and promote recovery and it is now time to seek professional advice on how to proceed next.

Have a question for the professionals you’d like answered? Get in touch with sarah.gill@image.ie with the subject headline ‘Ask The Doctor’.