Two-thirds of those who get coronavirus have problems with smell and taste. In general, odor and taste problems are more common in women than men. In some patients, smell and taste problems may be the only complaint of Covid-19 disease. Professor of Ear Nose Throat Diseases Department. Dr. Mustafa Asım Şafak gave information about the taste and smell problems seen in Covid-19.
IS SEEN AT 75 PERCENT
Smell problems are generally one of the common complaints in upper respiratory tract infections. As a result of natural nasal congestion, the smell of patients is also reduced. However, the rates of smell problems seen in Covid-19 disease are approximately 3-4 times higher than those seen in influenza infections. However, the incidence of smell discomfort due to Covid-19 increased from 33.9 percent in the first studies to 75 percent in recent studies.
CAN CONTINUE FOR MONTHS
Smell disorders; It is the first, sudden onset and most prominent complaint of Covid-19 disease. Problems with smell start on the 4th day of the disease, continue for about 9 days and usually resolve within 1 month at the latest. Odor and taste problems can persist for much longer periods of time, for months. This may indicate that there are more severe brain and brainstem involvement in cases where the symptoms last longer. In addition, the duration of odor and taste problems may be directly related to the course of the disease. In fact, the presence of long-lasting odor and taste problems may become an important determining factor for the follow-up of the disease.
THE VIRUS SPREADS INTO THE BRAIN, AFFECTING THE SENSES OF SMELL AND TASTE
The mechanisms that lead to smell and taste disorders have not been fully elucidated yet. Studies have shown that the virus that causes Covid-19 disease has a higher tendency to cling to the nose and throat area. Anatomically, the olfactory nerve can be seen as an extension of the brain. It spreads into the nose by passing through a very thin and perforated bone structure between the nose and the brain. Due to this feature, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus reaches the upper respiratory tract, it can spread directly into the brain by attaching to the olfactory nerve.
SCENTING DISORDERS ALSO BRING THE LOSS OF TASTE TOGETHER
The sense of taste is closely related to the sense of smell. In general, the majority of patients with smell disorders also experience a decrease in their sense of taste. In studies using artificial intelligence technologies, the rate of smell and taste problems in Covid-19 patients is approximately 30 times higher than in people who are not sick. In the advanced stages of the disease, there are odor and taste problems other than other neurological symptoms. The damage caused by the virus in the brain is seen in two main ways. The first is brain damage due to severe pneumonia and hypoxia, and the second is coagulation in small vessels. In this type of brain involvement, more serious neurological problems other than smell and taste perception occur. It is also thought that odor and taste problems in Covid-19 patients may be related to genetic predisposition.
ODOR AND TASTE LOSS IS DETECTED WITH SPECIAL TESTS
Investigation of odor problems in patients is carried out by questioning or interviewing patients, and by asking the patient in person. Very few odor problem studies have been conducted with more objective “olfactory tests”. Odor problems detected when done with olfactory tests are much more than those detected by simply asking the patient about the odor complaint. In other words, some of the patients are not even aware of the smell problem. Smell tests show that the smell problem in Covid-19 patients is very high, like 98 percent.
BE CAREFUL WITH THESE TO PREVENT TASTE AND ODOR LOSS;
– It is important to detect the coronavirus as soon as possible and to start treatment as soon as possible.
– The use of blood thinners that prevent blood coagulation should be continued for a few months even if the general complaints of the disease have improved.
It is recommended to use other vitamin and mineral supplements along with B-complex vitamins.
– It is very important to perform a mechanical nasal cleansing with frequent saline or similarly concentrated saline mixtures.
– In case of long loss of taste and smell, consult a doctor.