Advice not to be sniffed at: 'Smell training' could overcome Covid scent loss

The training could help people regain their sense of smell

Experts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich say 'smell training' could be the key to helping people overcome scent loss caused by Covid-19.

Smell training involves sniffing at least four different odours, twice daily for several months.

Professor Carl Philpott believes smell training could help sufferers Credit: UEA

Smell loss expert Prof Carl Philpott, from the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School, said that the method "aims to help recovery based on neuroplasticity - the brain's ability to reorganise itself to compensate for a change or injury".

Research by an international group of smell experts, published in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, advised against using steroids to treat smell loss.

  • Watch a video from the UEA where Prof Philpott discusses the impact of living without smell

Prof Philpott said there is "very little evidence" they will help with smell loss and they have "potential side effects including fluid retention, high blood pressure, and problems with mood swings and behaviour".

He said Covid-19 has led to a "huge rise" in smell loss globally and around one in five people who experience smell loss as a result of coronavirus report that their sense of smell has not returned to normal eight weeks after falling ill.

"This involves sniffing at least four different odours twice a day every day for several months. It has emerged as a cheap, simple and side-effect free treatment option for various causes of smell loss, including Covid-19. "It aims to help recovery based on neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to reorganise itself to compensate for a change or injury."

he Anglia region consists of the East of England counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk along with Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes and Rutland

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