Children's Hospital Colorado

When the Loss of Smell Lingers: Olfactory Training for Post-COVID-19 Infection (S4:E23)

COVID-19 has disrupted people’s ability to smell for days or months. While anosmia has been well-documented throughout the pandemic, researchers still aren’t sure why it occurs. Even less is known about the long-term effects on children who have not regained their sense of smell months after recovering from COVID-19. Because pediatric patients are less likely to articulate to a provider or to their parents that they cannot smell or taste normally, this phenomenon is believed to be vastly underreported in children.

Listen to pediatric experts discuss COVID-19-related anosmia

In this episode, we talk with Kenny Chan, MD, about the existing supportive evidence for olfactory training following COVID-19, and a new research study being launched at Children’s Colorado to help learn more about these patients.

Dr. Chan is the Chair of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital Colorado and is Professor of Otolaryngology and Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • Smell and taste dysfunction as diagnostic criteria for COVID-19
  • Pathophysiology of how COVID-19 may cause olfactory dysfunction
  • Prevalence estimates of COVID-related olfactory dysfunction in children
  • Olfactory training using essential oils to promote recovery
  • Standardized tests for measuring olfactory dysfunction in children
  • Development and study of an olfactory training program at Children’s Colorado
  • Role of imaging in diagnosing children with olfactory dysfunction
  • Underrated importance of the olfactory system

Resources for providers:

Refer a patient to Children’s Colorado.