HealthDay News — About four of every five patients with COVID-19-related olfactory loss report smell recovery within six months, according to a study published online Sept. 16 in the American Journal of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery.

Daniel H. Coelho, M.D., from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, and colleagues conducted an online survey of adults with COVID-19-associated smell and taste loss beginning April 10, 2020. Participants received follow-up questionnaires at 14 days and one, three, and six months later. The analysis included 798 participants who completed six-month questionnaires by June 25, 2021.

The researchers recorded a 79.5 percent recovery rate of smell to “good” or “very good” among respondents by six months. The only demographic characteristic that was positively associated with smell recovery was age younger than 40 years. For symptoms experienced during COVID-19, difficulty breathing was negatively associated with smell recovery, while nasal congestion was positively associated with smell recovery. Previous head injury, which appeared to have a detrimental effect, was the only preexisting comorbidity significantly associated with smell recovery. None of the medications used to treat COVID-19 were associated with rates of smell recovery.


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“The more we learn from those who’ve been affected, the better we can advise their health care providers and even individuals themselves on how to manage those symptoms,” Coelho said in a statement.

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