Courtney Whitman inhales essential oils daily to help her regain her sense of smell and taste after COVID-19. (Heather Simonsen, KSL Television)
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Salt Lake City – Decreased sense of smell and taste is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 and has affected up to 85% of patients, according to the National Institutes of Health. For some, these symptoms last for several months, but the new treatment is promising.
If you ever feel like you’re down or out, you can call Kourtney Whitman.
“I can’t remember what garlic is supposed to smell like,” Whiteman said. “I got a Diet Coke in the morning. I sipped and said, ‘There’s something weird in it.’ It tastes like onions.”
Her sense of smell has stopped since she contracted COVID-19 in January. Even spa scents, like eucalyptus, are totally wrong. “I can still smell that,” Whiteman said.
The smell affects the taste and severely restricts the diet. “I ate a lot of quesadillas. I was like, ‘What do I live for?’ Because to me life is like food.
Doctor. It worked with the aromatherapy, said Alexander Ramirez, medical director of the clinical program in otolaryngology at Intermountain Healthcare. He described it as a natural remedy for the nose.
As part of the process, patients smell certain odors in a certain way.
Eucalyptus and cloves and lemon and rose, because that’s the spectrum,” Ramirez said. “But it is equally powerful to use something very powerful, whether it is something terrible or good.”
He recommended inhaling a “rabbit” three times in a row rather than a long inhalation through the nose, which is less effective.
Evidence that the treatment works is limited, but a 2021 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology, which looked at a number of independent studies of aromatherapy for all types of post-viral patients, suggested it was beneficial.
“Twenty seconds of that, give it a break and move on to the next scent, four different fragrances, twice a day for three months,” Ramirez said. You have to imagine the smell, too. “So this part of the brain can reorient itself and remember how you should smell.”
Ramirez said recovery could take 12 to 16 months.
He started working with Wightman. “I’ve noticed recently that she’s starting to come back and that’s very optimistic,” she said.
This dedication can lead to a sweet reward.
“Chicken and chocolate are back, so[our fingers crossed]really Diet Coke is next,” she said.
Experts recommend checking with your doctor before starting scent training to make sure nothing else is causing the problem.
It is important to let someone else smell the essential oil to make sure the scent is strong.
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