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More than a year later, loss of taste and smell still linger for COVID patients

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It has been 14 months since Shelley Nydegger got Covid-19 and lost her taste and smell. 14 months later her senses have returned but only marginally.

Nydegger said she can no longer drink coffee, eat salsa, or smell candles without her stomach turning sour. It is something she said has not improved over the months.

“It’s depressing as silly as it sounds but you enjoy eating and drinking and smelling different things and it doesn’t work the same anymore,” Nydegger said.

Dr. Henry Barham, a Rhinologist at Baton Rouge General said roughly three-quarters of people who have had Covid suffer from long-lasting side effects, like the loss of taste and smell. He is working with those people to retrain their senses to smell again, it’s called Olfactory Training.

“You can hyper stimulate the nerve to recognize and have normal function to those smells, often times you’ll show improvement,” Dr. Barham said. “What it appears is covid and some of these other illnesses cause is a nerval loss, so the actual nerve that is conducting or transmitting it, you have an alteration there and that is when people have long term losses.”

Nydegger is working with Dr. Barham on the therapy. She smells essential oils twice a day in hopes of reactivating her nose.

She said it has worked slowly, but she is hopeful it will ultimately work, allowing her to enjoy her favorite tastes and smells, like coffee.

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