Most people who experience loss of smell due to Covid-19 eventually find it again after a while. Some, however, later show various persistent disorders of this sense, such as parsimony and phantom, that is, they smell distorted odors in relation to the real or completely non-existent ones.
Researchers from several countries, led by Professor Massa Niv of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who did the pre-publication on medRxiv, according to Reuters, analyzed data on 1,468 patients with Covid-19, most of whom had absent smell and taste from the beginning of the infection.
Quite quickly, about 10% of patients also reported olfactory distortions (parsimony) or unexplained and imaginary odors (phantom). Six to eight months after the initial infection and the diagnosis of olfactory loss, approximately 60% of women and 48% of men had regained up to 80% of their pre-infection olfactory capacity.
On the other hand, however, the incidence of parsimony (47%) and phantom (25%) had increased significantly. As one patient put it, “Sometimes I can smell something burnt, but no one else around me smells anything like it.”
Such persistent olfactory problems are more common in people with long Covid-19 who have more symptoms, according to the researchers.
Sudden loss of smell and taste are two common early symptoms of Covid-19, occurring in 40% to 75% of cases. They are a problem for physical and mental health, including affecting diet. Studies to date have shown that taste returns faster than smell and that when olfactory disorders persist for a long time, they are not usually accompanied by taste disturbances.
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