Similar Symptoms But Important Differences
- Eye problems. Pink eye is a possible symptom of COVID-19, and results in red and burning eyes. The itchy and watery eyes caused by allergies is usually mild and bothersome but not painful.
- Lack of energy and fatigue. While some people may feel run down or lack energy during an acute seasonal allergy attack, they are normally able to continue with their everyday activities. Extreme fatigue, to the point where its difficult to get out of bed or take care of basic needs, is much more serious and associated with COVID-19.
- Cough. Some people experience a mild cough along with congestion, runny nose or sneezing when suffering from allergies. If the cough responds to allergy medications, its almost certainly nothing to worry about. However, a cough thats accompanied with a fever or shortness of breath could be a symptom of COVID-19.
- Loss of taste or smell. Seasonal allergies can sometimes affect your sense of taste or smell, but its usually mild or comes and goes along with other symptoms. A sudden and complete loss of taste or smell, especially without accompanying congestion, sneezing, or runny nose, is a recently recognized symptom of COVID-19.
If you have been affected by seasonal allergies in the past, and your symptoms are similar to what youve experienced before, chances are thats what youre dealing with now. And, if your symptoms respond to over-the-counter remedies or medication prescribed for allergies, you can be fairly certain you dont have COVID-19.
How Does Loss Of Smell Happen
The nerves responsible for detecting smell are located high and deep inside the nose. When you have a cold or sinusitis, your nose fills with mucus and causes swelling. Because of this mucus and inflammation, the smell cant reach the top of the nasal cavity this results in a total or a partial loss of smell.
When Should I Seek Medical Advice To Determine If I May Have Covid
- Your allergies are not improving after taking over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops and/or allergy prescriptions after three to four days and your symptoms appear to be getting worse
- You have developed additional symptoms such as a significant headache, fever, cough, decreased sense of taste or smell or gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- You are experiencing allergy and /or COVID-19-like symptoms and you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19
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Can A Sinus Infection Make You Lose Sense Of Taste
A sinus infection can make you miserable, and thats not a surprise at all. But when foods that you would normally enjoy seem tasteless, its even more miserable. So why does this happen?
Whether you realize it or not, your sense of taste is linked to your sense of smell. In fact, much of what you taste is actually what you smell. When you have a sinus infection, the congestion that causes the infection can actually block your sense of smell. This is why you can seem to lose your sense of taste during a sinus infection.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection can vary from person to person, but they often include at least a few of the following:
- Sinus headaches and facial pressure
- Sore throat and cough
- Dental pain
While some sinus infections may require antibiotics or prescription medications, many times there are ways that you can treat the symptoms of your sinus infection at home.
- Stay hydrated
- Hot, steamy showers to help loosen mucus
- A Neti pot or saline spray
Treating your symptoms as early as you can is important because if left untreated sinus infections can have a lasting or even permanent impact on your health.
How To Tell The Difference Between Covid
Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.
Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.
Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.
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What Does It Mean If You Lose Your Sense Of Taste And Smell
There is no better way to explain it than saying that it is exactly what it sounds like. When we talk about loss of taste and smell, the same could be because of a cold that you are struggling with or even because of any other underlying health condition.
Impaired taste is characterized by the complete or temporary loss of taste. The complete loss of taste is often very rare but nerve damage has the capability to contribute to that as well. Often times, the same can also be correlated with the presence of a metallic taste in the mouth.
The condition of loss of taste is also quite a common occurrence with aging. It is believed that over 75% of the people above the age of 80 tend to experience loss of taste.
On the other hand, the condition of loss of smell, otherwise known as anosmia is a condition that can happen because of a number of factors. Apart from cold and allergies, aging can also often contribute to the condition further.
Both the senses of taste and smell are closely related. If you end up losing one, chances are that it hampers the functioning of the other as well. The kind of flavours that you get to taste in the food often promotes with your sense of smell. So, when you lose one, it is likely that the same will affect the other sense too.
Reasons You Might Be Losing Your Sense Of Taste
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says loss of taste or smell may be a sign of COVID-19 infection. If you suspect you or a loved one may be sick, contact your healthcare provider. Learn more about COVID-19, including how it’s diagnosed and answers to common questions you may have.
Your sense of taste is related to a combination of 2 different specialized cells, olfactory and gustatory. Olfactory cells are specialized cells that are high up in your nose that are connected to nerves that communicate with your brain. The second specialized cell, gustatory, are clustered in your mouth and in your throat. As you smell and chew your food, aroma is generated which activates your smell senses, while the food mixed with saliva activates your taste senses.
It’s commonly assumed that different taste buds are clustered in certain sections of the tongue, but that’s not entirely true. While there are different taste buds that respond differently to the foods you eat, they are not clustered in separate areas of the tongue. In fact, all the taste buds will react to all the different tastes but in varying degrees. There are 5 different taste buds that are scattered throughout your mouth, the roof of the mouth and throat that contribute to the overall taste of the food you eat:
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Loss Of Sense Of Smell Causes
Depending on the time of year and your allergy history, there are many possible causes for the loss of sense of smell. Loss of smell due to allergies is very common, and thankfully, it can be treated with the help of a professional allergist who has a proven track record of sinus treatments. No matter how uncertain you are about your loss of smell, always know that it is crucial to get the opinion of a professional to prevent any further damage to your sinuses. Sometimes, the loss of sense of smell due to allergies can lead to lead to temporary anosmia. To avoid this, seek help as soon as your symptoms occur.
Does Having Allergies Put Me A Greater Risk For Contracting Covid
“Having allergies does not put you at greater risk for contracting COVID-19,” says Dr. Barnes. “It’s your behaviors that put you at greater risk.”
To reduce your risk, continue using safe practices when you are away from your home if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19. These include wearing a face mask, social distancing, limiting large social gatherings and the use of hand sanitizers and frequent hand washing.
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Tips For Improving Your Sense Of Smell
Dealing with a loss of smell can be extremely frustrating. Fortunately, there are several ways to remedy the problem.
1. Lifestyle Changes
If your olfactory issues are a result of regular habits, changing things up is something to consider. This would apply to things such as smoking, lack of nutrition, or taking certain medications.
If you believe a prescribed medicine could be the problem, you should always consult with your healthcare provider. When it comes to your diet, consider consuming more Vitamins A, B6, B12, and zinc. These foods include fish, beef, dairy, eggs, nuts, and whole grains.
2. Rectifying a Medical Condition
As we mentioned, several medical conditions can lead to olfactory problems. If you have an underlying medical issue, getting to the root of it and correcting it can make a huge difference. In the meantime, the following remedies can help provide some relief.
3. Smell Training
A practice where you smell the same fragrances consistently is called olfactory training. During this, youll take quick and delicate sniffs of a strong aroma for a few minutes every day. Be mindful of the smells and even write them down. Youll want to use scents with a powerful smell like spices, essential oils, and garlic.
4. Nasal Inhalers
The fragrance helps reteach your senses to work during olfactory training. Also, the essential oils work to stimulate sensory nerves in the nose. Nasal inhalers can help open up airway passages to relieve nasal congestion, too.
Can Hayfever Cause Loss Of Taste And Smell
Allergy sufferers will be well familiar with symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat and congestion but could loss of taste and smell be yet another sign that pollen season is on the horizon? Today I explain the possible links between allergies and taste and smell, plus I offer my advice on how to address any problems with these senses.
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Loss Of Taste And Smell: How To Get Your Sense Of Taste & Smell Back After A Sinus Infection
Dr. Menachof, MD, has specialized in conditions around the head, throat, ear, nose, neck and face for over 20 years, and was the first to bring sublingual allergy drops to Colorado in 2005. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of Americas Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.
Experiencing a loss of taste or smell? Learn more about what causes it and how to get your senses back after a sinus infection.
Have you ever noticed that a certain food didnt taste as good as it used to? Or that a once pungent smell didnt bother you as much? Maybe you took a whiff of those spring flowers and smelled nothing! While certainly alarming, this is most likely a result of a very common condition called anosmia, or the loss of your sense of smell.
Since our smell and taste buds are so closely linked, any conditions or irritants that cause swelling in the nasal passages can lead to a loss of smell and therefore taste. While typically just a temporary nuisance, loss of smell can also pose a dangerous threat, as your sense of smell is responsible for alerting you to dangers like gas leaks, rotten food, or fire. And because it affects your sense of taste, it can also lead to loss of interest in eating that results in unwanted weight loss and malnutrition.
The Effects Of Sinusitis
Whether acute or chronic, sinusitis can have a significant impact on your health, leading to:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain and pressure around your sinuses
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
Among these symptoms lies an unlikely effect a loss or reduction of your sense of smell and taste.
Lets start with your loss of smell. First, because of the congestion that often comes with sinusitis, youre unable to breathe in deeply enough to reach the olfactory sensory neurons higher up in your nose to initiate smell in the first place.
Second, the viral infection inside your nasal passageways can temporarily damage your highly sensitive sensory cells.
Your sense of taste and its relationship to sinusitis is trickier. The condition doesnt necessarily lead to a direct loss of taste, but it can alter the sense because your sense of smell and taste are linked. Taste and smell work in lockstep, and when you lose one, the other is compromised.
Your sense of taste may also be altered because of a pervading foul taste brought on my infected mucus at the back of your mouth and throat.
The bottom line is that the sooner you come in to see us for treatment, the sooner we can restore order among your senses. If you suspect you have sinusitis, please call us so we can set up an appointment.
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What Causes Loss Of Taste & Smell And How To Get Them Back
Colds, sinus infections, and general congestion are the most common causes of temporary loss of smell. Typically, your sense of smell will return as your congestion clears up. While this is the most common offender, there are plenty of other issues that can lead to loss of smell or taste. These include:
- Over-exposure to certain chemicals
- Upper Respiratory Infection
Most commonly, upper respiratory infections are the cause of loss of smell and taste. This includes common colds and flus which cause nasal congestion.
Upper respiratory infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, decongestants, cough medicines, cough drops, and flu medicines. Home remedies like nasal irrigations or nasal sprays may also help alleviate congestion.
As your cold or flu clears up, your smell and taste should return within a few days, though some viral infections can cause permanent damage to your sense of taste.
What Can You Do If Allergies Have Led To Loss Of Smell Or Taste
If youve tested negative for COVID-19 or you are pretty positive that your allergies are behind your loss of smell and taste because its happened before, there are a few things you can do to get relief.
Do your best to avoid your triggers.
This can be tricky if youre allergic to outdoor allergens like pollen. But, if you can, Dr. Schwartz recommends staying inside with your air conditioner or an air purifier running when pollen counts are high in your area. Need to go out? Wear a face mask, even when youre not going to be around others. This can help filter out irritating particles so you can breathe a bit easier and ideally avoid the onset of symptoms.
Try using a nasal spray.
A low-dose, regular use steroid nasal spray like fluticasone can help. It doesnt cure your allergies, but it reduces the inflammation that can lead to a loss of smell, Dr. Schwartz says.
Saline sprays are another mild option that can be useful in helping to clear out gunk and allergens that could be lurking in your sinuses and nasal cavity, Dr. Wada says.
Azelastine is a nasal antihistamine thats also pretty effective at combating allergy symptoms, says Dr. Schwartz. With these, you dont have to use it continuouslyjust use it on and off when you need it, he explains, but you need a doctors prescription to get your hands on it.
Reach for an oral antihistamine.
If all else fails, see your doctor.
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When Should I See A Doctor
If you lose your sense of smell and taste because of a cold or sinus infection, give yourself some time. Your smell and taste should return within a few days of the cold clearing up. Consider making an appointment with an ENT specialist if you answer yes to any of the following:
- Is my loss of smell and taste unexplainable?
- Has it come on suddenly?
- Has it lasted more than a few days?
- Is it severe?
An ENT specialist can determine the underlying cause of your loss of smell. This process will include a series of questions to understand your symptoms and onset. It may also include several tests, including an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or a nasal endoscopy to see inside your nose.
After understanding the cause of your loss of smell, your ENT specialist can offer treatment options. This may be as simple as an OTC decongestant or may require a surgical procedure to remove obstructions.
How Do I Know If It’s Just Allergies
“Take your temperature. That’s probably a good first step, since coronavirus almost always includes a fever. If your temperature is normal, it is likely allergies,” says allergist Anu Kewalramani, MD an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
She adds, “Also, think about whether this happens to you every year. Come March and April, do you usually have itchy eyes and a runny nose?” If so, this may just be seasonal allergies acting up.
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Smell Loss Related To Colds Allergies Sinus Issues And Covid
Anosmia is the lack of sense of smell and frequently goes hand in hand with the lack of taste. Since the smell receptors are in the upper portion of the nose, anything that can prevent air from reaching these smell receptors can affect your ability to smell. The receptors are located on both sides of the nose, so complete blockage of both your nasal passages may lead to loss of smell, but blockage of one side or the other can also cause this in some people.
Usually, when your nasal breathing improves, so does your sense of smell. Although congestion and obstruction are often the cause of smell issues, there are several other reasons not related to nasal obstruction why people can lose their sense of smell, including recent or repetitive head injury, a viral cold, COVID-19 infections, and many others including chronic nasal and sinus conditions, such as polyps.