More than 125 million people globally have been infected by Covid-19, with more than 60 million people infected in the US and EU alone. While the majority of patients who experience smell and flavor loss due to COVID-19 will recover, recent studies have shown that significant portion of the post-COVID population may experience a long term full or partial deficit. Still others may be left with smell and flavor distortions that can interfere with daily life.
“25% of the chronic smell loss population, estimated at 15 million people in the US, have experienced a long-term loss of their sense of smell and flavor due to an influenza-type virus. The emergence of COVID-19 and the historically high incidence of smell and flavor loss associated with the virus will add significantly to the overall post-viral smell loss population. We are looking forward to investigating the potential to treat this population in the near future.”
Dr. Robert Henkin, Director of The Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington DC.
Some Covid-19 survivors are tormented by phantom odors that are unpleasant and often noxious, like the smell of burning plastic, ammonia or feces; a distortion called parosmia.
Eric R., a 51-year-old probation officer in California., lost his sense of smell when he contracted Covid-19 in April.
“I often perceive foul odors that I didn’t know existed. Diet drinks taste like dirt; soap and laundry detergent smell like stagnant water or ammonia.”