The Nose Knows But In Yakima When Your Covid Nose Goes, It Stinks
Which of your five senses could you live without?
Safe to say sight and sound are most importatnt for most people.
Covid And Your Sense Of Smell
What about touch? Who would want to live without being able to feel a gentle caress, a warm fluffy blanket, or the scruffy neck of a favorite pet. What about taste...a kiss, a favorite meal and glass of Yakima valley wine or beer? That brings us to the sense of smell and the point of this article.
In the last couple of years I have had dozens of conversations with people who survived COVID-19 and all of them included questions about smell. Did you lose yours, how long did it take to come back, is it back, etc. Researchers estimate that up to 1.6 million people in the United States lost their sense of smell for at least six months.
WHat Is Anosmia
And that brings me to my wife and her COVID-19 experience. We both had the virus at Thanksgiving of 2020. It was miserable for us both and I went to the hospital for three days. We both lost our sense of smell. Mine came back and hers didn't. Or more accurately her ability to smell returned but nothing smelled like it used to and in fact most things smell like garbage or sewage or worse!. Awful, offensive. sickening smells have ruined her enjoyment of cooking, eating or drinking.
The Smithsonian Magazine reports on the all too common impact of "Anosmia".
A loss of smell—called anosmia—can be one of the first symptoms of a Covid-19 infection; one study reports that between 30 and 80 percent of diagnosed folks experience some variation of anosmia. Taking a big whiff of perfume, food or wine and not smelling anything at all can be an odd, confusing sensation, but around 90 percent of people recover their sense of smell as soon as two weeks (like me)...however, some people are taking much longer to recover their smell. For others, it may never come back.
First Ever Widespread Sensory Loss
Neurobiologists at Harvard Medical School say the loss of smell is an "unnprecedented consequence of a pandemic that's never really been observed before." Anosmia sufferera are twice as likely to experience health or safety hazards like the inability to detect gas leaks, smoke or spoiled food and are also linked with higher rates of depression.
In General, Our Sense Of Smell Is Weakening
But if you dodged COVID or if you got COVID but dodged annosmia, it doesn't mean your sense of smell is top notch. Reasearchers say our overall ability to detect smells may be on the decline. United Press International reports
Researchers from the U.S. and China tested volunteers’ perceptions of various smells, and found people’s sense of smell is declining, little by little....The experts theorize that our sense of smell has weakened over time due to gene changes.
I feel sorry for my wife, she loves red wine and her anosmia has crushed her enjoyment. I feel sorry for me because I'm a carnivoire and now she can't stand the smell of cooking meat - so there go many of my favorite dinners!
And I feel sorry for the whole of humanity, all of us who have suffered loss of any kind due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Good luck, get well, God Bless!