Loss of taste and smell with Covid

It’s been over a week since we were first diagnosed, and we’re no longer feeling like death warmed over but have residual coughing and fatigue. The worst is that we cannot taste much of anything - we do get hungry, but it’s like eating cardboard. And we’re not able to smell things - even the Vicks Vaporub we bought to slather on our throats and chest in the shower. Has anyone else been through this? Any idea how long it will persist? Is there hope??

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I had no sense of smell or taste for 4 months. I don’t know if it helped, but I did sensory training where I chose 4 strong essential oils (mine were orange, lemon, eucalyptus, and mint) and tried to smell them a few times a day, noting which I was smelling each time. In the beginning, there was nothing, but slowly things got better. It went from less than a second of recognition and then nothing to full recovery. Once the sense of smell returned, taste did, too. Be patient with yourself, and take heart. With time you should be able to smell and taste again.


Thank you. I’m glad you recovered. I have always had an acute sense of smell and taste - often to my detriment. Losing it has left me very disoriented. I am more worried about my 91 year old mother who is visiting us for 6 weeks - she’s a light eater and I’m concerned about keeping her hydrated and with nutrients.


It varies a lot . I know someone whose sense of taste was still affected 8 months later. You’ll probably find that you, your husband and your mom all recover your sense of taste on different time lines.


Wife and I got covid maybe 2 years ago. Mostly cough and nasal congestion, gone in about 5 days. But about 2 days after recovery, I quite suddenly lost my sense of smell. Not even pungent stuff like garlic, smoked fish, or peanut butter came through. Wife didn’t lose hers which seemed weird - historically, even regular colds would knock her sense of taste and smell pretty hard for a week or more.

I started getiing it back in about 5 weeks then fully (I think) by 7-8 weeks. I say “I think” because it’s kind of hard to gauge. I can tell all my herbs apart (had a daughter blind test me), but did I really get it ALL the way back? I don’t know how to be certain after a gap like that, but it seems normal to me again.

I did a lot of reading of survey studies on people who had gotten covid-derived anosmia, and mine seemed like a fairly typical course of it, +/- a few weeks.

We got Covid again 3 weeks ago (again basic cold symptoms) but thankfully no repeat of the anosmia. Wife did lose flavor distinction for everything except salt but this was short-lived and was back to normal just days after she got over symptoms.


I’ve never had Covid but since 2020, when the weekly Youtube podcast began, I have listened to the Osterman Update. The epidemiologist has a 50yr resume and a great track record of anticipating Covid’s effects. I THINK it was Dr. Osterman who mentioned recently that anosmia is less common with the current dominant strains than it was earlier on. If I didn’t hear it there, I read it in the NY Times or Guardian.


I am amazed to hear about people getting Covid for the first time now or that there are people who have managed to avoid it still. Everyone in my family has gotten it. Some more than once now. Fortunately for me my symptoms were non-existent and I only realized I had it because of the testing protocol we had at work. I didn’t believe the test at first and only when multiple tests including PCR came back positive did I accept the results.

I haven’t had Covid only because of luck, continued masking and social distancing.

I haven’t had a meal inside a restaurant since Dec 2021.

I haven’t taken my mask off inside buildings other than my home, apart from 6 indoor restaurant visits with friends between March 2020 and Dec 2021, and one museum fundraiser in Dec 2021. I haven’t been on a plane since Feb 28, 2020.

Most people can’t live like this, of course.


I think most people don’t want to live like that, especially with a virus that is now endemic.

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Of course.
Most people can’t , won’t or don’t want to live like that.

I am in a situation where I have to avoid it to a larger degree.

You’re lucky if you’re in a situation where you can live large or larger right now.


Dunno about living large or larger - just about the same as I used to.

Lucky you, then.

My life won’t be going back to how it once was.

I suppose I am living larger now , since I splurge on capers, coffee and nicer bread than I did in 2019, and I now tip more on take-out since I no longer dine inside.


that sounds like forming new brain connections. Great home PT.


Of course. We all need to assess which risks in our lives are worth taking. One of my many jobs involves driving around strangers on the daily.

I can’t afford putting my life (or income) on hold indefinitely - not sure that’s “being lucky.”

It just is what it is :woman_shrugging:

Yep, your mileage may vary.

My mileage may vary.

The grass is greener.

This might interest: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0288285

Published August 2, 2023

Among patients with COVID-19, the normal functions of the olfactory lobe were about 23 days earlier to gain with the treatments of fluticasone and triamcinolone acetonide nasal spray compared with that of mometasone furoate nasal spray and oral corticosteroid. The smell loss duration was reduced by fluticasone and triamcinolone acetonide nasal spray 9 days earlier than the inflawell syrup and 16 days earlier than the lavender syrup. The nasal spray of corticosteroids ended the COVID-19-related smell loss symptoms 2 days earlier than the zinc supplementation, about 47 days earlier than carbamazepine treatment and was more effective than palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and luteolin and omega-3 supplementations and olfactory training. Treatment with oral corticosteroid plus olfactory training significantly improved Threshold, Discrimination and Identification (TDI) scores compared with olfactory training alone. A full dose of the COVID-19 vaccination was not uncertain to reduce the COVID-19-related smell loss duration.

Corticosteroid treatment is effective in reducing the duration of COVID-19-related smell loss and olfactory training, the basic, essential and effective intervention, should be used as a combination therapy."


I go back and forth on this (being amazed at it, I mean).

But with 4 kids in school/college, and with my typical practices (1-2 grocery stores daily), a wife who had to be in-office at least a week a month, and living in an area with a large amount of business/international travel, and what not, it was inevitable we’d get multiple exposures.

OTOH, I’ve got older friends and some relatives, either with no kids or kids long grown/out of the house, and more rural-based who basically battened down the hatches for 2 years and only left home for groceries (which were loaded into the car trunk, no contact). It’s not surprising to me that under those circumstances avoiding for a pretty long run is possible.


I fall into the latter category (maybe obviously :joy:) . I’ve made some friends who live life like I do, through an online group. Interestingly, the 3 friends I’ve made so far are all GenX women and they are married with school-aged children. I’m the only childless singleton I know taking this lifestyle approach. My GenX bachelor friends who don’t have children (as far as I know) are taking almost no precautions to avoid another bout of Covid.

Of course, YMMV :red_car:

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Wait… they’re not even getting the new boosters/new vax coming out?? Wow.

We’re due for our new covid shot next week, I believe.

I’ll continue to get boosters when they’re available. I use them in conjunction with social distancing, masking and ventilation.

The boosters right now prevent whatever Covid is caught from being more debilitating. I don’t want any Covid if I can help it.

I know some people who have become permanently disabled by Covid and it’s changed my view on what activities or risks are worthwhile for me. No judgment from me re: how other people roll.

I had been an extrovert previously, and now I’m not. :joy: