What is Anosmia?
Anosmia is the loss of the sense of smell. To overcome this, there are several ways to restore the sense of smell lost due to anosmia. This method is easy and practical, so you can do it by yourself at home.
Anosmia occurs when the sense of smell is unable to smell something, such as the smell of flowers or a strong odor. There are several causes of anosmia, ranging from nasal congestion due to a cold, nasal polyps, to COVID-19.
In people with colds, anosmia generally goes away when the cold subsides. While in patients with COVID-19, anosmia will last a little longer and can be overcome by doing several ways to restore the sense of smell, ranging from smell training to administering drugs.
How to Restore the Sense of Smell Due to Anosmia?
Anosmia can subside on its own in a matter of weeks or months and some are permanent. However, there are several ways to deal with anosmia that you can try at home to restore your sense of smell more quickly, including:
Olfactory Training (Smell Training)
Olfactory training can be done by relying on the memory of the smell to reactivate the olfactory nerves. This exercise involves repeated smelling of several scents, such as lemon, rose, clove, and eucalyptus.
Each scent is inhaled deeply for 15-20 seconds. When you inhale it, try to remember what the ingredients smell like. Imagining the smell of an object is thought to be able to train the performance of the nerve endings of the sense of smell.
You can do this therapy 2-3 times a day for at least 3 months. Research shows that there is an increase in the ability of the sense of smell in COVID-19 sufferers who experience anosmia after doing this training.
Consume Ginger Tea
Ginger tea can also be used to treat anosmia. Ginger itself has a distinctive and pungent aroma that can help you train your sense of smell.
In addition, drinking ginger tea can relieve inflammation in the respiratory tract while reducing the formation of mucus that clogs the nasal passages.
How to make ginger tea is very easy. You can simply steep a tablespoon of raw ginger that has been sliced and ground into two cups of hot water for about 15 minutes. After that, ginger tea is ready to be enjoyed.
If the anosmia is caused by an infection or allergy, you can try a nasal irrigation method to restore your sense of smell.
This method is done using a saline solution that can be purchased over the pharmacy or drugstore. You can also make your own by mixing half a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of boiled water.
Next, put the brine solution in a spray bottle or irrigation bottle. Well, here is how to clean the inside of the nose using a salt water solution:
- Tilt your head to one side of your body.
- Spray the saline solution into one nostril slowly in the opposite direction to the slanted side of the head.
- Allow the saline solution to drain out of the other nostril or mouth.
- Repeat this method for the other nostril and do it several times a day to restore the sense of smell.
Consume Certain Drugs
If anosmia does not improve, you need to see a doctor for further treatment. Your doctor will prescribe medications to restore your sense of smell, such as:
- Steroid nasal spray
Research shows that olfactory training accompanied by a steroid nasal spray, in the form of budesonide, can improve olfactory abilities compared to cleaning the inside of the nose with a saline solution.
If these 4 ways are not able to overcome the anosmia you are experiencing, please consult a doctor to get the right treatment, especially if it has caused malnutrition and weight loss due to lack of appetite, shortness of breath, or depression.
- Whitcroft, K. & Hummel, T. (2020). Olfactory Dysfunction in COVID-19 Diagnosis and Management. JAMA Network, doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.8391.
- Nguyen, T. & Patel, Z. (2018). Budesonide Irrigation with Olfactory Training Improves Outcomes Compared with Olfactory Training Alone in Patients with Olfactory Loss.
- International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, 8(9), pp. 977-981.
- Biggers, A. & Cafasso, J. Healthline (2018). What Is Anosmia?