PopSugar: Can You "Retrain" Your Nose To Smell Again After COVID? 1 Perfumer Says Yes
Up until last month, Ishir*, 14, hadn't smelled food — his favorite scent — for six months.
It started in November of last year, when he first lost his olfactory sense after contracting COVID-19. Of course, he's not alone in his experience: roughly 80 percent of people have reported anosmia, or a diminished sense of smell, as a symptom of the virus. What's more, a study by the American Academy of Neurology shows that half of people who lost their sense of smell had not regained it even five or more months later. Ishir fell in the latter category, often called "long-haulers" by members of COVID support groups.
"It was a rough first few months, but after a while you get used to it, unfortunately," he said, adding that nothing he tried worked. Then, after countless desperate Google searches, his mother came across a potential solution: veteran perfumer Sue Phillips.
Phillips had launched a scent therapy healing program amid the pandemic at her Upper East Side boutique in New York City, where she has helped more than 20 COVID survivors retrain their noses to smell again with targeted fragrance training. Clients could also book sessions via Zoom.