detection, duration … All about anosmia, symptom of the virus

“France discovered that it had a sense of smell in March”, according to Jean-Michel Maillard, president of the association Indeed, the sense of smell is now studied closely, while its loss is a common symptom of Covid-19.

The new coronavirus is not the only cause of anosmia, however. In some, a permanent loss of smell occurs after a trauma. Others are born without. In terms of seasonal flu or Covid-19, however, the disorder is temporary. According to a recent study European Union, infected people recover their sense of smell on average after two months.

Another specificity of Covid-19: it is the first disease to make you lose your sense of smell “suddenly”, explains Jean-Michel Maillard to This does not mean that we realize it immediately: “There is an olfactory memory, our brain associates what we see or hear with smells, it can take time before we realize what it is. ‘happened”.

Detections too little present

“In the years to come, we must develop olfactory tests for children, in the same way as we test eyesight,” says Jean-Michel Maillard. According to him, the care of ENT doctors relating to smell problems is insufficient: “We don’t know how to spot, we don’t know how to operate, we don’t know what’s going on”.

In spite of everything, it is towards ENTs that you should turn in case of anosmia. They will do a test of your smell and, if necessary, an MRI to identify the origin of the disorder. But “the tests are lacking”, continues the president of, and “the wait is sometimes long before having his condition confirmed”.

There are a few ways to test your sense of smell yourself. details on its website three tests different that can be done at home. The brand Essential Parfums is developing a smell test with a scratch card.

Living with anosmia

The consequences of anosmia are numerous. The loss of smell obviously makes it difficult to no longer be able to smell familiar smells. “What I miss the most is the smell of my sons,” regrets Jean-Michel Maillard, anosmic for four years.

Another big difficulty: meals. The anosmia does not cause the loss of the taste itself, but rather the flavors, which largely come from retro-olfaction, the perception of aromas thanks to the sense of smell.

Some data, such as acidity, remains perceptible. The fun, on the other hand, largely disappears. “We have the impression of eating sweet cardboard or salted cardboard. Some even stop eating enough because the experience is no longer pleasant “.

To overcome these difficulties, Jean-Michel Maillard organizes discussion groups so that people with the disease can share their experiences. He also participated in the development of an “olfactory rehabilitation protocol”. According to him, a third of people would see improvements thanks to this protocol.

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