Loss of smell caused by colds, allergies or sinus infections usually clears up on its own after a few days. If this doesn't happen, consult your doctor so that he or she can rule out more-serious conditions.
Loss of smell can sometimes be treated, depending on the cause. Your doctor can give you an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, or remove obstructions that are blocking your nasal passage.
In other cases, anosmia can be permanent. After age 60, in particular, you're at greater risk of losing your sense of smell.
April 10, 2014
- NIH senior health: Problems with smell. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://nihseniorhealth.gov/problemswithsmell/aboutproblemswithsmell/01.html. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.
- Smell disorders. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/smelltaste/smell.asp. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.
- Mann NM, et al. Anatomy and etiology of taste and smell disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 23, 2013.