'Smell training' can help some restore sensation robbed by COVID-19

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsadio) — Losing the sense of smell is a common symptom of coronavirus, but there is a therapy that will help.

It's something you take for granted until it's gone, says Matt McBride of Holland, Bucks County. He's been working hard to regain his sense of smell. For weeks he's been sniffing essential oils, such as lemon and cloves, and paying close attention to each name.

"I'll work with them for about 30 seconds each, maybe five minutes total, and then when I come home later in the day, and once or twice before I'm going to bed," he said.

Dr. Nancy Rawson, vice president and associate director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in West Philadelphia, says there are no drugs to restore the sense of smell, but this therapy, called smell training, does work for some.

"By exposing your sensory system on a regular basis in an attentive fashion, it seems to help the brain regenerate those sensory pathways that have been damaged."

So far, Matt's a believer. He's recovered about 50% of what COVID-19 took away.  He cautions, it's not a quick fix. He was sick in December, and it took many weeks before he noticed any progress.