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My sense of smell is gone!

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 
I had a bad virus last month (everybody around me had that one). However, ever since I've been sick (I've been better for 3 or 4 weeks now), my sense of smell is COMPLETELY gone. I've never experienced that before, and it scares me. I thought it would come back once I'd feel better, but it hasn't.

And I'm not just talking food smells, I can put my nose 1 inch from my cat litter and not smell anything at all (i used to have to stop breathing anytime I was changing her litter).

Wondering if anyone has ever been through that or has any idea what's going on?

:cry:
post #2 of 73
Dude no way. Did you use any of the zinc stuff you spray up your nose?
post #3 of 73
Thread Starter 
Nope. I didn't take any medication but a few aspirins a day.
post #4 of 73
I had an illness some time ago that caused me to lose my taste. It came back after a few months. Ask a doctor about this and check on the CDC website for drug effects and illness symptoms. Do you know what virus you had?
post #5 of 73
Thread Starter 
No idea what virus that was, something like a cold or a flu. Kept me in bed for a good 48 hours and kept me feeling like crap for about 10 days.

Good idea about the CDC website, I'll look it up. Thanks for sharing your experience, too, gives me hope! Although taste would be way worse than smell - boy you must have been scared!!
post #6 of 73
It is fairly common for a person to lose their sense of smell after having had a viral infection. Usually it is only a temporary condition. If you go to the doctor he will probably perform a couple of simple tests to determine if the loss is due to your recent illness or if there is something else causing the problem.

Some people do use zinc supplements but there is no real supportive evidence to say this works. I guess if you believe it will work, it will.

I sympathise with you, not being able to smell the aroma of food cooking or flowers etc must be most frustrating. Just as well your sense of smell didn't suddenly come back as you were smelling the kitty litter, yuk, that would have been nasty.

Hope you get your sense of smell back soon.
Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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post #7 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot for the support! It's very reassuring to hear that it's a pretty common thing.

Today I was shopping and I thought I'd buy some chives. I directly brought them to my nose - nothing. I'd forgotten that I couldn't smell. I thought it was curious. Then I saw a sign "Rosemary", but it was obviously dill under the sign. Still I brought it to my nose - nothing. Then I remembered! I think it was the first time it was really handicapping me for cooking purposes.

Otherwise my wife is letting me change our newborn's diapers, since I sincerely don't mind at all, as it's odorless to me. That and the cat litter. Hey it has its advantages after all!!! :lol:
post #8 of 73
i would seriously think about blowing my head off and ending it all if i ever lost my sense of smell and taste forever.
post #9 of 73
Has it affected your taste buds?

My Grandmother lost her sense of smell for good after having several asthma attacks. You may want to ask the doc if it has anything to do with asthma.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #10 of 73
I think it is pretty well established that the sense of "taste" has more to do with the sense of "smell" than the contribution of the taste buds.

Saw a demonstration once where they blindfolded this guy, and gave him one thing to eat while holding something else completely different under his nose.

Everytime he guessed that what was in his mouth was what he was smelling.

With that said, the dentist tells me that having a set of upper dentures will definitely affect a person's sense of taste. So I'm spending a fortune on implants instead.

And, with that said, since I've lost much of my hearing ability, I"ve noticed that my sense of smell has increased 10-fold.

doc
post #11 of 73
Thread Starter 
Taste buds are intact, thank goodness. I can still taste anything I put in my mouth. Can't smell a thing. I need to visit a doctor, this is freaking me out. I really hope it's a temporary thing.
post #12 of 73
I hope it's a temporary thing for you too. I lost my sense of smell 10 years ago. Except, maybe once a year since then, I will get a "short" smell of something. This year it was onion skins...and even though that is kind of a "dirty" smell...it was wonderful to me. I have bad allergys, and polyps in my nose. However, even after a sinus surgery several years back, the sense of smell didn't return. I truly do miss it....and you will too when your wife adds cleaning the bathroom and other such chores to your list! However, you will learn to live with it. Beware though...it can be very dangerous. One day I caught a rag on fire from an open flame....and didn't realize it until the kitchen was filled with smoke. I think I would have smelled it if I could have. Please be careful, and God bless...I hope it returns!

"THE BEST IS YET TO COME"

      JUST US BUFFET

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"THE BEST IS YET TO COME"

      JUST US BUFFET

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post #13 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I finally found some hope in the form of a website (MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Smell - impaired) that states:

For loss of smell caused by a recent viral upper respiratory infection, be patient. The symptoms return to normal without treatment. Sometimes zinc supplements are recommended.

Let's hope that's all it is. It's really, really weird not smelling anything at all.
post #14 of 73
Thread Starter 
Well 4 months later... doctors tried giving me steroids, didn't help much (seemed to help a little bit but all I could smell was some kind of gasoline smell pretty much all the time).

Now the last few days, my sense of smell has been slowly coming back! I am so psyched. I hope I'll get 100% back, not there yet. But instead of a constant gasoline smell, I can now smell a few things. Finally I can come home from work, open the front door and tell my wife "Hmmmm, smells good". I can smell certain herbs (rosemary)... yesterday I could even smell an old bottle of juice and tell it was spoiled!

So I'm pretty excited, and can't wait to have my full smelling back. I'll keep updating this thread, hopefully if someone else has the same problem and finds this thread it will give them hope!!
post #15 of 73
well that is good, i know a few people that completely lost it, it would be very difficult to do my day without smelling
post #16 of 73
thats crazy!!! 4 months is a really long time not to smell anything, but im glad that its slowly coming back for you :)
post #17 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks - and I agree, it is insanely crazy. I would have never imagined that was possible to just lose a sense like that because of a stupid virus. I'm soooo glad it's coming back but still concerned: is it going to come back 100% and reliably, forever?

I hope so. I'll update this thread, hopefully in a short time, hopefully with some great news! :chef:
post #18 of 73
Hey that's great news its coming back, must be such a relief!

My dad has completely lost his sense of smell - he is 75, in pretty good health, no-one can tell him why its happened. He's always been a great lover of food and wine, and it was very hard for him to come to terms with it. When they stayed with us I stupidly asked him to sniff something I was cooking and asked what he thought.....ohhh no!! My bad. :(

I know it would drive me bonkers. Aromas of food, flowers, fresh air, salt off the ocean, the scent of rain coming...the smell of an open fire in winter, fresh linen....the list goes on.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #19 of 73
Thread Starter 
You know, that happens to me ALL the time. Even my wife keeps asking me "Are those nuts good or can you smell they're rancid?" or questions like that once a week. I just smile back at her, and she usually gets it. But people forget. It's not like being blind or deaf, I think most people don't realize how much of a handicap it is. Oh well still better than being blind or deaf though!!!
post #20 of 73
I felt like kicking myself straight after I'd asked the question. Yes there are a lot of worse things that could happen but its still not much fun. We rely on smell a lot more than what we realise - to catch something burning (not only food) for example, it can become a danger.

Or when the cat has sicked up in the corner ..... bleccch :crazy:
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #21 of 73
though not as severe as losing smell, i started taking meds and now I get a bitter aftertaste of anything I eat.

First few bites tastes great, then, sure enough, bitter taste.

Like all my meals consist of bittermelon.

Good to see that yer smell is coming back!:bounce:

P.S. How do you keep a fish from smelling?:lol:
Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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post #22 of 73
Well, I want to wish all the best to both DeltaDoc and French Fries.

Mike :bounce:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #23 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks!! Not there yet, but I can smell a couple of things... problem is sometimes I'm not smelling the right things! :(

But hey at least I'm smelling something. It's encouraging.
post #24 of 73
Thanks for starting this thread. I just discovered that my sense of smell has been all but eliminated either after being sick or being exposed to some raw car exhaust for 20 seconds. They happened at the same time.

It has been 2 weeks. should I go see the doctor now or wait a bit? Does it matter?

forresta
post #25 of 73
Lost my sense of taste from a dentist needle for a while:
1) lack of certain tastes, numbness.
2) then everything tasted like peanut butter
3 then taste was restored

total time 8 months.....so maybe you will experience the same progression with your nose.
post #26 of 73
I just lost my sense of smell the same way the OP did (either that or some raw car exhaust I took a couple of whiffs of....the sulphur lightly burned days later).

Should I give it time or is it beneficial to go to the doctor sooner rather than later?

forresta
post #27 of 73
Thread Starter 
I wanted to update this thread with some great news. It took a little over a year, but I feel like I've almost completely recovered my sense of smell! What a PLEASURE to be able to come home and smell the food my wife has prepared! Or even go to a nice restaurant and be able to smell the food they bring me!!

I say almost because sometimes I have trouble identifying smells. It feels like certain unrelated things have the same smell to me.

But I'm at a point where I don't really remember how acute my sense of smell was before that incident, so can't compare. So pretty much 100% recovery.

Wow. What a (bad) trip.
post #28 of 73
FrenchFries - I am so glad for you. You must be so relieved.  Am hoping others with this dilemma can benefit from this thread and the info in it.

  I never realised how much the sense of smell is involved in everyday life (bullet list coming up here ):

- food that has gone off
- something burning (house/food/clothes/surrounding forrest)
- when the oil in the pan is hot enough
- when you crack an egg and it is two days older than creation itself
- going thru the market and telling which fruit/veg is ripe and ready to use
- same - but with fish and meat etc especially
- if you are wearing yesterdays socks
- when there is something lurking in the fridge or store cupboard which absolutely Must go - and it is not safe to do it by taste..urrrghh
- you have gone for a stroll in the park and stepped in something....unsavoury, but not at all sweet, and don't realise
- if you need to use more de-odourant

...the list could go on ad infinitum.

On the plus side though....if you are in an enclosed area like an elevator, you can't tell when someone "cuts the cheese"
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #29 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks DC. It's definitely a handicap. Obviously not as bad as blind or deaf, but certainly in the same vein. You don't realize what you have until it's gone. Now I know! Once my wife found me sleeping in front of the TV with a strong smell of gas in the entire house. I'd let something on the stovetop at a very low heat, and something must have blown the flame, and I fell asleep. This could have been a huge disaster!

Another thing is... nobody around you really understands or cares. Most people just think it's not a big deal. They joke around, move on, and forget. Later that same night, they want you to smell a flower or a cake they baked, and when you remind them you just told them you can't smell anything, they look at you and say "Really, you really can't smell at all?". "No, not at all, nothing". A few days later they'll tell you about the amazing smell of this and that or ask you if you can smell this or that.

It felt really alone!
post #30 of 73
 I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with this French Fries. For the past year I have noticed a decreased ability to smell things unless they have strong oder. It has really affected my cooking and also how much I actually enjoy a meal so I really sympathize with you. My symptoms do not seem anywhere near as severe as what your dealing with so I hope you gain your smell back soon. Have you considered trying acupuncture? I was actually thinking of going to an acupuncturist to see if they might help. I am a big believer in natural remedies instead of chemical or surgery. Don't mis-understand me they have their place but often I find the natural remedies are not as intense or hard on your body.

Here is an article from DrWeil.com that talks about certain nasal sprays believed to caused damage to your sense of smell. Looks like there was an investigation but no conclusive evidence.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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