UC Davis Health's Dr. Toby Steele has recently been working with his fellow faculty members which include professor Qizhi Gong, PhD, among others, to identify treatment for anosmia or loss of sense of smell in COVID-19 long-haulers through "olfactory training."
A WFLA-TV report specified, so far, Steele has observed favorable outcomes with a method that treats two different mechanisms by which a COVID-19 patient can lose his sense of smell.
These mechanisms include the pathway and the neural pathway. Issues that impact the first-mentioned largely tend to impede olfactory receptors in the nasal cavities.
Issues affecting the latter-mentioned on the other hand, inhibit the ability of the brain to recognize the signals from such receptors.
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Referring to the second mechanism, Steele explained, is where olfactory training may be helpful. Here, he recommended a two-pronged approach.
First, the professor suggested purchasing four different essential oils specifically, rose, clove, eucalyptus and lemon, and smelling each of the oils for 10 seconds two time each day.
Recent studies approximate roughly 10 percent of COVID-19 patients are experiencing persistent, lingering symptoms which include respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue or even brain fog.
However, another one of the most commonly-experienced side effects which is loss of smell, this report said, may be upsetting.
If one needed to choose a sense to lose, Steele continued explaining, most people would perhaps choose smell of loss.
However, he elaborated, when it's gone, one is not enjoying food, not to mention, losing weight. He is unable to detect either, if the milk is spoiled. Anosmia, he said, is indeed, a major driver of quality of life.
Recovery Within 3 to 6 Months
Professor Steele said, now, they have more time, more money from the federal government to study the determining mechanisms, or plausibly treatment or therapeutic options.
One is looking at the odor, he explained, this individual is telling his brain, what he's smelling is rose and he is trying to reestablish that particular neural connection.
The professor explained this citing studies that show from 30 to 40 percent of patients practicing this method are recovering some sense of smell within three to six months.
Steele combines this treatment with a nasal rinse that contains a prescription anti-inflammatory called Budesonide. That part, he admitted, does not make a tone of sense.
He explained, they don't think COVID-19 is affecting the conductive pathway. But what this medicated rinse does setting up an environment in which such smell nerves will be successful
Together, the two approaches lead to substantially better recovery, with studies showing 40 or 50 percent of patients exhibiting improvement three to six months, said Steele.
Anosmia, Experienced Not Just by COVID-19 Patients
A lot of people are looking for a modification or adjustment in their sense of smell, explained the professor. He added, they do not enjoy the scents that they loved anymore, and ca no longer stand the odor of. This is essential for people to know, he continued, as it can be alarming.
Anosmia though, as explained in Healthline, is not a symptom that only COVID-19 patients are experiencing. According to Steele, post-viral olfactory loss can show in flu patients too, or those who have especially severe respiratory infections.
Aside from flu, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, other cuses of smell disorders may include aging, smoking and sinus, as well as other upper respiratory infections, among others.
But after the COVID-19 crisis brought this issue to light, there has been a growing interest in treating it. It is the silver lining in this pandemic, Steele said. Smell and taste disorders before the pandemic, took more of a backseat, he added.
Related information is shown on Christy Risinger, MD's YouTube video below:
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