Smell loss or anosmia is a relatively common complication after viral upper respiratory infection but maybe be even more specific in Coronavirus-19.


Anosmia, also known as smell blindness, is the loss of the ability to detect one or more smells. Anosmia may be temporary or permanent. It differs from

There have been increasing reports of anosmia, or olfactory disturbance, in patients whom become infected with Coronavirus-19, regardless of the severity of other symptoms. As part of Covid symptoms reported, loss of smell appears to be more common than typical viral infections, ancedotally. As reported by the Australia Soceity of Otolaryngology,  ansomia may be the only symptom reported by some patients with relatively asymptomatic infection.

Please see these interesting artilces about smell loss in CoVid infeciton:

For many the perception of anosmia is the loss of ‘flavour of food’. While true taste is unlikley to be affected by coronavirus-19, the percetion of the flavour of food, is 80% contributed by retronasal smell. As we chew food, odourants from the food enter our smell cleft to contribute, with taste, to the perception of flavour.

smell loss and covid sydney ENT Harvey

Virus infection impacts the senstation of taste/flavour: Retronasal passage of odourants contributes 80% to the perception of ‘flavour’ of food.

What to do if you’ve had suspected smell loss and CoVid.

if you have experienced recent disturbance of your olfactory system, please call us to discuss. There are interventions that can limit the injury to the olfactory system and also aid in recovery. By definition, you will likely be considered high risk of recent Coronavirus-19 infection. We offer telehealth services to discuss this with you:

  • Telehealth consultations are bulk billed, for eligible patients,  but do not include an examination.
  • Call us to discuss 0293604811
  • Telehelth is conducted via Zoom


In the interim, pleaes remember there are other causes of anosmia, so CoVid infection is not the only issue. Practice hand hygiene and social distancing. If you have had smell loss then Coronavirus-19 screening maybe considered appropriate and strict social isolation, especially if meet the other high risk criteria:

Epidemiological criteria:

  • International travel in the 14 days before illness onset.


  • Close contact in 14 days before illness onset with a confirmed case of COVID-19.


Clinical criteria:

  • Fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills).


  • Acute respiratory infection (e.g. shortness of breath, cough, sore throat) with or without fever.

In addition, if a patient has bilateral community-acquired pneumonia (critically ill) and no other cause is identified, with or without recent international travel, they are classified as a suspect case.

But do not hesitate to speak to a specialist if you have suspected smell loss and CoVid infection as simple interventions are availiable to help.