General, Research, Technology

Scientists have figured out how to restore the sense of smell after COVID-19. And these are not steroids

While the coronavirus rages in India, transforming the countryinto hundreds of funeral pyres, scientists are trying to understand how the transferred COVID-19 affects human health. The latest data, alas, are disappointing - according to the results of a work recently published in Nature, 30 days after discharge, patients with coronavirus infection had an increased risk of developing arrhythmias, tachycardia, diabetes, depression, muscle weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath and a number of other diseases. Moreover, the mortality rate of those who had covid disease was 1.46-1.73 times higher. Another characteristic feature of the postponed coronavirus is anosmia - the loss of the ability to smell. Sometimes anosmia can manifest itself in part or in the form of odor distortion. Despite the fact that anosmia can hardly be compared with cardiovascular and other diseases that develop after COVID-19, this condition significantly impairs the quality of life. Just imagine what it would be like not to smell a spring thunderstorm and morning coffee, or vice versa, instead of smelling your favorite people, to smell rotting meat. Fortunately, scientists have made significant progress in the treatment of postcoid anosmia and recently reported the discovery of a cure.

Some patients who have undergone covid develop anosmia - a loss of the ability to smell. Fortunately, scientists seem to have discovered a cure for this condition.

Consequences of COVID-19

It may be hard to believe, but a pandemicCOVID-19 is gaining momentum around the world. The available vaccines, as experts have repeatedly noted, have spread mainly in developed countries, while residents of developing countries (including India) do not have access to vaccines. Moreover, as a result of the spread of the new COVID-19 strain in India, the country's hospitals are overcrowded - and all this is happening against the backdrop of an acute shortage of drugs.

Meanwhile, the consequences of the transferred covidreally scary. At the end of April, the scientific journal Nature published an article, the authors of which took a sample of 73,435 people who suffered from covid, but were not hospitalized and managed to live after the diagnosis for at least 30 days. For comparison, the control group included 4,990,835 people who did not have covid and who were not hospitalized.

The results were disappointing - mortalityamong the patients who underwent SARS-CoV-2 it was 1.46-1.73 times higher; the risk of developing diabetes, depression, cardiovascular and a number of other diseases was also increased.

The incineration of the bodies of those who died from the coronavirus in India. Photo: Reuters

As biologist Alexander Panchin writes on his Facebook, citing the study, the authors also compared COVID-19 survivors with those who had the flu:

“Again, in addition to the increased risk of death,those who had had covid, there were increased risks of a number of serious diseases: the risk of kidney and heart failure, as well as diseases associated with blood clotting disorders, increased by about one and a half times; acute hemorrhagic cerebral vascular disease and respiratory arrest were almost twice as common; the risk of acute pulmonary embolism and encephalitis was three times higher; the risk of myopathies was five times higher. And this, alas, is not a complete list of problems. "

Anosmia after COVID-19

Among the serious health problems afterthe transferred covid described above, there are others, less serious. Among them - anosmia, loss of the ability to smell. But despite its seeming harmlessness, loss of smell or its distortion (it is also common among patients who have undergone coronavirus a symptom), anosmia can significantly worsen the quality of life.

Recently, scientists have suggested to such patientsTry retraining your nose to learn how to sniff out certain smells. As the researchers note, it will take time, perhaps months, but if "you try to inhale at least four different scents twice a day, it can help you recover faster and more completely without any unwanted side effects."

Anosmia causes many inconveniences and significantly reduces the quality of life.

This recommendation is based on systematican evidence-based review. The review authors concluded that corticosteroids should not be the first treatment option for odor loss due to COVID-19. Corticosteroids are usually prescribed for those with a stuffy or inflamed nose, but in the case of postcoid anosmia, they don't seem to work.

Read also: 76% of COVID-19 patients suffer complications six months after discharge

On the other hand, learning to smell is morea scientifically proven way to regain the ability to smell after a viral infection. “As a group of experts, we strongly emphasize the initial consideration of scent training,” the researchers write. “Scent training has no known side effects and is inexpensive. Moreover, it is the only treatment available ... backed by a solid evidence base. "

It should still be noted that comparing steroidsand odor training methods for treating olfactory dysfunction after COVID-19 are somewhat flawed as no controlled studies have been conducted. However, scent learning idea has been around for some time and has been used with great success to treat odor loss from other infections.

To cope with anosmia, scientists recommend training your scent daily.

According to Sciencealert, in the case ofWith postcoid anosmia, scientists may need to implement this practice on an unprecedented scale. About 60% of those infected with COVID-19 have experienced impaired sense of smell, while about 10% have persistent symptoms that last for weeks or even months. Fortunately, most people do seem to get better, and scent training may have something to do with that.

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So, at the beginning of 2021, a study of 1363of coronavirus patients with olfactory dysfunction showed that 95% of patients regained their sense of smell after six months. Corticosteroids have also been considered as a treatment option, but this medication is not harmless. This treatment can come with many unwanted side effects, including fluid retention, high blood pressure, and mood swings.

In general, based on the available data,the authors join numerous other experts in calling for caution. Until randomized, placebo-controlled trials are conducted, treatment should begin with olfactory training, not steroids.