27 February is marked as Anosmia Awareness Day and this Sunday in our weekly series on rare diseases and disorders we look at what anosmia or the loss of the sense of smell means for people affected with it.
The sense of smell is something we all take for granted. Now imagine losing that sense. Food would taste different, you can’t smell flowers and loss of the sense of smell also puts you at risk because you would be unable to smell smoke from a fire or a gas leak. Hence, anosmia or loss of the sense of smell affects quality of life in a significant way.
- The most common cause is nasal congestion from a cold, allergy, sinus infections or poor air quality.
- Trauma, head injury, pesticides and chemical exposure.
- Certain medications like antibiotics, antidepressants, cocaine, old age, radiation are other causes.
If you lose the sense of smell and are not recovering from a cold or allergy, it may be a good idea to see a doctor. The doctor can check for a polyp or growth that may be affecting the ability to smell.
Treatment is usually not needed if nasal congestion due to a cold s the cause. But if the congestion gets worse you may beed antibiotics. Chances of recovery are good if the cause is reversible like nasal inflammation. But if the underlying cause if nerve damage, recovery may be difficult.
- Add concentrated flavouring agents to food. This may help patients who retain some sense of smell enjoy eating.
- Smoke alarms should be fitted in homes.
- Use of natural gas for cooking or heating as gas leakage goes undetected.
- Avoid excessive use of nasal decongestants.
READ MORE: Paras Hospitals
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