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fragrance sensitivity and loss of smell

 
pollinator
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I have read that one of the symptoms and after effects of Covid is a loss of smell which could be a mixed blessing for me.

Asthma, skin and food allergies run in the family and when I was younger, certain perfumes would trigger a migraine - I would have to move to another seat in the cinema or restaurant to escape the scent or I'd have a full blown migraine and be vomiting within an hour.

Fast forward to 2020 and with all the perfumed hand sanitisers that everyone is using, I have become hyper sensitive to fragrances and my tongue tingles, my lips go numb and before I know it, I'm hoarse and wheezing. I have to hold my breath in pharmacies and department stores as I walk past the perfume counters, masks are a a godsend, I wear them to reduce the smells I have to inhale.

If a friend wearing strong perfume hugs me, their perfume clings to my clothes and I have to chew peppermint gum for the rest of the working day so that the smell of the perfume is counterbalanced.

If I'm unfortunate enough to contract Covid, I would hate to lose my sense of smell but I wonder whether I'd still experience the fragrance sensitivity symptoms if I can't actually smell them?
 
steward & bricolagier
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Yes, you would still react. The affected part in covid is the way the nerves talk to the brain about smells, the affected part with fragrance intolerance is the immune system's response to the chemicals in the odor.

:D
 
pollinator
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I have a cold right now and I can't smell or taste a thing.  I tried eating a clove of garlic last night on a piece of bread.  I couldn't taste it, but I could feel it!  It sure made my eyes water.  It made my stomach feel better today.  So I think Pearl is spot on.
 
steward
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Like most things, I'm of the opinion that it depends. I have a friend with chemical sensitivity, and it seems to me like psycho-somatic symptoms play some role in her allergic reactions. So at least for her, I would expect that not smelling the fragrances would equate to not reacting to them, at least some of the time.

While on the topic, loss of sense of smell is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, so I wonder if keeping people indoors, and covering their faces so that they get insufficient sun exposure to get enough vitamin D is leading to more viral infections. The corrolary being, I wonder if the loss of sense of smell is not a symptom of the virus at all, but a symptom of the vitamin deficiency which made people susceptible to the virus in the  first place?



 
pollinator
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I have chemical sensitivity, it's awful. It isn't the same as what people with allergies seem to experience or describe. I feel like I can't breath, the front of my face above my eyes and nose feel uncomfortable or even hurt. Almost anything that comes from an aerosol can, spray paint, some so called disinfectants, things like WD40, insecticides such as Raid and insect repellants. One of the worst is some apparently common ingredient in many perfumes and colognes. I can detect the presence of that chemical outside from many yards away. If I'm in a room and someone comes in with it I have to leave.

It may be also psychosomatic to some degree I suppose but mostly it is actual. Degree of symptoms is proportional to the amount of exposure. However I have on many occasions experienced symptoms when the actual exposure was so small I didn't even smell it, well actually describing it as a smell isn't completely accurate. One time at an outdoor party I started getting sick and found out later someone on the other side of the house had sprayed insect repellent. Once at a meeting I had shook hands with someone I was introduced to before going in. After the meeting started I began feeling like I couldn't breath, soon I figured out there was something on my hand. I went to the bathroom but it wouldn't wash off. It was on the papers I had with me and my coffee cup. I threw it all away and drove home with all the windows down. I put a moratorium on holding hands with strangers a long time ago, just don't feel the need for physical contact, a simple nice to meet you is sufficient. As a rule if a person I meet is looks perfectly groomed, crisply pressed shirt and tie, not a single hair out of place, shiny shoes, stepping of of a $60,000 car, until I learn otherwise I regard them the same way I would a super fund site and stay as far away as possible. Maybe it's stereotypical but safe than sorry, as they say.

I don't know about the COVID or vitamin D or the mask thing as it relates to smell. I know lots of people who seem to rarely go outside anyway unless their destination doesn't have a parking garage so I don't see a big difference.      

 
pollinator
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Mark, I sympathise with you. I am also chemical sensitive.  I react first by coughing a very dry, painful cough (always had sensitive lungs) followed by burning and watering eyes depending on the chemicals.  I avoid any gathering as the smell of detergent and fabric softener on people's clothes has me out of the door in 30 seconds flat. Cheap women's perfume has the same effect, and that's an every day kind of thing so I am not even talking about paints, varnishes, car freshener, bleach or any kind of cleaning stuff or sprays, etc.  I can't even begin to name all of it.

Maybe it's psychosomatic, maybe it's not.  I don't have to smell anything for the trigger reaction. Sometimes I start coughing and I know that there is something around that is not good for me or any one else for that matter.  Incidentally, just because one does not react physically to the chemical assault on the senses, does not mean that it is without harm.

As the OP was wondering about her loss of sense of smell after Covid, I'm pretty certain that it would not change the reactive symptoms associated with chemical sensitivity..
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:.

While on the topic, loss of sense of smell is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, so I wonder if keeping people indoors, and covering their faces so that they get insufficient sun exposure to get enough vitamin D is leading to more viral infections. The corrolary being, I wonder if the loss of sense of smell is not a symptom of the virus at all, but a symptom of the vitamin deficiency which made people susceptible to the virus in the  first place?



I think this sounds VERY plausible. Many of the natural blogs I subscribe to have mentioned that the lack of vitamin D, lack of emotional/social interactions with others, and lack of regular germ exposure (from isolating & disinfecting) are making people more susceptible to the virus in the first place.

In the book, The Blue Zones, one of the key factors they found of people groups who frequently lived up to 100 was “A healthy social network: called “moai” in Okinawa” and they weren’t referring to zoom calls and FaceTime visits. I really enjoyed the book and their other resources. (I don’t appreciate their now huge push for vegetarianism and veganism.)  Here is an article that talks a bit about their findings: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/blue-zones#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8
 
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