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Can You Lose Your Sense Of Taste With Allergies

But Could It Be Early Or Mild Symptoms Of Covid

Verify: Can the coronavirus cause you to lose your sense of smell or taste?

Estimates have shown that those with mild illness can make up over 80% of cases. Not everyone with COVID-19 will get very sick. And some people who have tested positive have experienced symptoms as mild as that of a cold, or no symptoms at all. If you have reason to believe you may have contracted the disease, being tested will help reduce your chances of spreading it to others.

The classic symptoms of COVID-19 include persistent fever, dry cough, as well as fatigue, muscle aches and others. Most people will get better on their own, though its important to monitor your symptoms and get in touch with your doctor if you feel like youre getting worse. The most important thing you can do is to wear a mask and minimize your contact with others in order to reduce your chances of spreading it to others.

When To See A Doctor

If you notice a loss of smell and taste, see your doctor to determine the underlying cause.

The most effective treatment for allergies is avoiding your triggers. Testing can be performed by an allergist to help identify your specific allergens. The doctor can also prescribe stronger allergy medications or recommend allergy shots if your symptoms are severe.

How To Tell The Difference Between Allergy And Covid

While both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies affect the respiratory system, they are different in how they affect the body.

Allergies are an immune response following an exposure to certain allergens such as mold or tree pollen. COVID-19 is a virus that your body is trying to fight off this is hard work. And while COVID-19 symptoms may not be severe on their own, they are more severe when compared to typical allergy symptoms.

Here are the biggest differences between allergies and COVID-19.

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Can Nasal Sprays Damage Your Sense Of Smell

Nasal sprays are often used to treat allergy symptoms, like congestion, which comes about as a result of inflammation. With persistent use, however, many of these products can become less effective. It is also common for an issue known as rebound rhinitis to occur where symptoms worsen after stopping use.

These are a couple of problems associated with nasal sprays, but could they actually inhibit our sense of smell as well?

To answer this question, we have to examine the ingredients of your nasal spray. In 2009, an-over-the counter nasal spray was recalled because its main ingredient was found to cause users to lose their sense of smell.2 It is unlikely you will now find this ingredient in your nasal spray, though, and, as long as you follow the guidelines regarding how often to use the product, you shouldnt experience any changes to your sense of smell.

If you are still concerned about this issue, however, then you may find it helpful to try a natural nasal spray such as Pollinosan. This particular product is very soothing and can be used over a prolonged period of time.

Top tips for using nasal sprays

Other Factors To Consider

14 Home Remedies To Get Senses Of Taste And Smell Back

In any of these situations mentioned above, if OTC treatments do not provide rapid improvement in symptoms, seeing an ENT specialist can help differentiate between the various conditions that may be causing smell loss.

Your age as well as how long you have had symptoms of smell loss before seeking treatment, no matter what the cause, are the two main factors affecting your ability to regain your sense of smell. Therefore, if your smell does not return quickly, you should see an ENT specialist as soon as possible.

For those with loss of smell, there are safety concerns that should be considered, such as making sure all smoke detectors are working properly installing natural gas or propane leak alarms if there are gas appliances, fireplaces, furnaces, or water heaters in the home and checking food expiration dates.

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Contact Houston Ent & Allergy Services

From newborns to the elderly, Houston ENT & Allergy Services delivers the highest-quality level of patient care to you and your family using the most innovative treatment along with providing informative patient education.

Each of our clinics contain cutting-edge instrumentation and equipment as well as a highly trained professional medical team. A select group of doctors join our practice regularly and bring the most up-to-date skills, procedures and related specialties with them.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for treatment for sinus problems or allergies, tonsils or tubes, balance or hearing issues or reconstructive facial surgery, we remain the leader in providing excellent patient care. We offer you with the most warm and friendly staff to take care of your medical needs. Request your appointment today.

About Allergy Ent & Associates

At Allergy ENT & Associates, we take pride in our advanced allergy, asthma, and ENT care services throughout Houston, Texas. Our team is composed of board-certified allergists that work closely with you to understand your symptoms and find reliable, long-term treatment solutions. With over 15 locations throughout Texas, we strive to make it simple to receive the diagnosis and treatment of allergy, asthma, and sinus diseases. Our goal is to create a welcoming atmosphere where we can provide a seamless experience for allergy, ENT, and asthma care. Experience the difference in quality care and services through our clinics throughout Texas.

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Why Allergies Cause A Loss Of Taste And Smell

Loss of smell and loss of taste can occur with allergies. These two senses are closely linked. Your sense of smell begins when small particles reach nerves high up in your nose. These nerves then send information to your brain, which determines what the smell is.

Your sense of smell also impacts your ability to fully taste things. When you chew food, aromas are released through the roof of your mouth and into your nose. These aromas are detected by nerves that interpret the information and enhance the flavor of your food. If your sense of smell is decreased, your taste will also be negatively affected.

Allergies develop when your body mistakenly attacks harmless substances that enter your body. These substances, called allergens, often include pet dander, pollen, mold, dust, and other environmental triggers. Your immune system produces chemicals that lead to allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Itchy eyes and nose

Loss of smell and taste with allergies is caused by nasal congestion. If you aren’t able to breathe through your nose, particles can’t reach the nerves in your nose, and the information can’t get to your brain. This is also why your sense of taste is affected.

Is The Loss Of Taste A Symptom Of Allergies

VERIFY: A sudden loss of smell or taste might be A COVID-19 indicator

Yes, we have concluded that allergies can cause loss of taste. Simply put, a symptom of having allergies might be that you lose your taste, or have an altered taste.

Dont be too hasty to blame these symptoms on the allergies though. First, we need to cover some other reasons why you are unable to taste like you used to.

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Allergies And Your Sense Of Taste Stuffy Noses Make It Hard To Smell

Its hard to smell the roses, much less the Clos du Bois when your nose is congested from allergies. As Wikipedia puts it, the sense of taste partners with the less direct sense of smell in the brains perception of flavor. So if your nose is stuffy, you can expect that everything is actually tastier than it seems to you.

The good news about stuffy noses affecting taste perception and causing a lost sense of taste is that its the easiest allergy-related taste affecting problem to fix. For instance, if you are allergic to dust mites and find that mornings are a particularly congested time for you, allergy relief bedding can help you wake up refreshed and allergy-free.

Why Might Allergic Rhinitis Affect Your Sense Of Smell And Taste

Receptors on the taste buds of our tongue determine the taste of something be that sweet, sour, spicy or salty. This information is gathered and then sent straight to the brain where it is processed. However, flavour is only detected with the help of the sense of smell. Smells are detected by receptors found in the lining of the nose. This information is melded with that from the taste buds to generate flavour. The sense of taste and sense of smell therefore work together and if one doesn’t function properly then neither can.

As mentioned, when suffering from allergic rhinitis histamine is released by the immune system in an attempt to fight off allergens. This causes issues like inflammation which can occur all over the body, including in the nasal passages where it obstructs the flow of air. This impairs smell and, because the two are connected, it negatively affects taste too. With congestion now an issue, the tongue must do all the work in determining the taste of something and, as a result, our sense of taste is compromised.

However, for allergic rhinitis sufferers, this isnt the only thing that can cause loss of taste and smell. Nasal polyps, which are abnormal sacs of fluid that grow in the inside of the nose, are an unfortunate side effect of allergic rhinitis that can block air flow through the nose. Once again, the close relationship between taste and smell means that if one isnt working properly, neither will.

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How To Treat Loss Of Taste And Smell

The best way to treat a loss of taste and smell is to find out the underlying cause and the right treatment for it. In many cases, you will regain your smell and taste when your sinuses clear or inflammation is reduced. However, some people who have had COVID-19 experienced damage to their olfactory receptors from the virus. This might require treatment to help restore the function of these nerve endings.

The Many Faces Of Sinusitis

Home Remedies for Loss of Smell and Taste

Sinusitis can develop for many reasons. For example, congestion in your sinuses is often part and parcel of an upper respiratory infection, such as the cold or flu. As well, allergies can wreak havoc on your sinuses, leading to inflammation that blocks your mucus.

Sinus issues that are chronic, meaning they last three months or more, can be brought about by ongoing problems with allergies or structural issues, like a deviated septum or nasal polyps.

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Why Seasonal Allergies Happenand Only To Some People

Seasonal allergies may be common, but most people dont seek treatment. Only one in 10 Americans experience seasonal allergies serious enough to diagnose. What makes seasonal allergy sufferers different, says Poole, is often genetics. Genetic predispositions play a role to some degree as it is more common to develop allergies if one or both parents have a history of allergies, she says.

But if one or even both of your parents have allergies, you might still be sniffle-freeand vice-versa: if your parents have zero allergies, you can still have them. Allergies can develop at any time during the lifespan. You can grow up with them and they can get better or you can develop them later in life, Gupta says.

Its very personal, which is what makes diagnosing seasonal allergies a challenge. However, a full medical history tracking your response during pollen season might provide clues. Allergists can also conduct skin allergy testing to confirm specific allergies, Poole adds.

If you have allergies and notice them getting worse over time, youre not just imagining things, reports a February 2021 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America .

How To Tell If Your Loss Of Smell Is Caused By Allergies Or Covid

COVID-19 is still spreading, so its important to consider that your lost sense of smell could be due to a coronavirus infection. But as positive cases decrease across the country and more people become fully vaccinated against the virus, its entirely possible that your loss of smell or taste could be stemming from allergies.

So, how can you tell the difference? First, a loss of smell due to allergies always happens along with nasal congestion, Dr. Schwartz points out. Plus, if allergies are the culprit, the loss of smell will come on gradually, says Kara Wada, M.D., an allergist and immunologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Loss of smell from COVID is pretty sudden, she says.

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Its important to keep your personal history with seasonal allergies in mind, too. If youve struggled with them in the past and develop a loss of smell around the same time as you usually develop allergy symptoms, thats worth considering, Dr. Wada says.

If your loss of smell or taste happens in tandem with other notable coronavirus symptoms, especially a fever, you should be more suspicious that you might have COVID-19, says Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.

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Is Asthma A Risk Factor For Severe Covid Infection

Early in the pandemic we were worried our asthmatic patients would have severe COVID infections, says Dr. Fung. But now, more evidence is piling up that asthmatics do all right. Theres more reason for worry with patients with COPD or other underlying lung conditions. If youre an asthmatic, and get a COVID infection, you should still alert your doctor and get help if symptoms are getting worse despite taking asthma medicines.

Smells Can Keep You Safe

Coronavirus: why might we lose our sense of smell and taste?

Its important to be aware of odors around you. You need to be able to detect smoke, gas leaks, spoiled food, and vapors from potentially dangerous household chemicals.

  • Smoke check your smoke detectors once a year to make sure they work.
  • Gas leaks make sure you have a gas detector in your home.
  • Spoiled food throw out food thats been in the refrigerator too long.
  • Household chemicals make sure there is fresh air where you live and work.

These safety measures are especially important if your sense of smell has diminished.

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Medication Side Effects Compromise Smell Taste

The various medications used to treat allergies often have a significant list of undesirable side effects. This is one of the reasons that allergen avoidance should be practiced to the fullest extent possible by utilizing all the tools available for environmental control of allergens.

Corticosteroids are one category of medications used to treat inflammation by blocking allergic reactions. They come in many ingestible forms, including pills, liquids, nasal sprays, inhalants, eye drops, and skin creams. While each type poses unique side effect risks, nasal and inhaled corticosteroids are more likely to affect the taste

Nasal corticosteroids include the medications Flonase and Nasonex, among others. These may cause an unpleasant smell or taste and nasal irritation, which obviously would affect the ability to taste. Inhaled corticosteroids, used to relieve allergic asthma, include Azmacort, Aerobid, and Flovent, and may lead to infection in the mouth, though this side effect is rare.

Nasal antihistamines and decongestants can also cause smell/taste issues. Side effects of nasal spray antihistamines, which block inflammation-causing histamine during the allergic response, include a bitter taste, dry mouth, and nasal burning nasal decongestants, if used for more than about a week, can lead to severe rebound congestion once the medication is discontinued.

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?

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.

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Cleaning Inside Your Nose Can Help

Rinsing the inside of your nose with a saltwater solution may help if your sense of smell is affected by an infection or allergy.

You can make a saltwater solution at home.

  • Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
  • Mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda into the water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
  • Sniff some of the solution up 1 nostril at a time and let it run out of your nose. It might help to hold your other nostril closed with your finger as you sniff.
  • Repeat these steps a few times to see if it helps.
  • You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh batch each day do not reuse any left over from the day before.

    Some pharmacies sell sachets you can use to make a saltwater solution and devices to help you rinse your nose.

    When To Seek Medical Attention

    Lost Your Sense of Smell?

    Any loss of taste that is not anticipated by your healthcare provider should be evaluated.

    Our senses of smell and taste are important for our nutritional status, and individuals who lose these senses often lose weight. Our sense of smell can also warn us of danger, including smoke from a fire, chemicals, or a natural gas leak.

    Diagnosing problems with taste or smell is generally uncomplicated. You should see an otolaryngologist if you can’t taste anything. This healthcare provider, who specializes in ear, nose, and mouth disorders, will probably have you try to identify certain chemical odors using a standard “scratch and sniff” test, or flavors .

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