Loss of taste occurs in 8% of cases and loss of smell in 17% of cases 7 to 9 months after infection and in 10% of cases at 12 months. With the Omicron variant, loss of smell occurs in 3.5% of cases and loss of taste in 2.6% of cases 3 months after primary infection. People may also experience changes in taste or smell or phantom tastes or smells.

These symptoms typically improve with time. Experience with other viruses shows that, in a small proportion of cases, the loss of taste or smell can last for several years. Changes in taste or smell are usually an indicator of reasonable potential for a full recovery. The evaluation of taste and smell is generally unreliable and those affected by it find the symptoms difficult to describe. After a discussion with your primary care physician, an ear, nose and throat specialist can assess the underlying causes and severity of symptoms.

How is it treated ? 

Olfactory training can improve symptoms or accelerate recovery, as a way of retraining the brain to recognize scents. You can use every day products or essential oils: you smell four to six scents (e.g. cloves, lemongrass, roses, eucalyptus, coffee and peppermint) for 15 seconds twice a day. Try to take the time to focus on these rehabilitation exercises; it requires some discipline and regular practice. It is recommended that you consult an ear, nose and throat specialist if symptoms persist beyond 3 months. Vasoconstrictor or local steroid sprays are not indicated unless required by symptoms.