loss of smell sinus infection

How to get your sense of taste and smell back after a Sinus Infection

What is a sinus infection?

Sinus infection (sinusitis or rhinosinusitis) is a condition that occurs when the cavities around the nasal passages become swollen, inflamed, and infected with bacteria or viruses or due to damage to the nasal sinusoids as a result of accidents. 

When this happens, there is a build-up of fluid in the sinuses which facilitates germs growth to worsen sinus infection. 

Sinuses are hollow spaces located within the bones between your eyes, behind your cheekbones, and in your forehead. They produce mucus, which keeps the inside of your nose moist. This helps protect against dust, allergens, and pollutants. 

In their healthy state, sinuses are filled with air but can become blocked due to the following factors;

  1. Common cold
  2. Swelling of the lining of the nose caused by allergens (also known as Allergic rhinitis)
  3. Nasal polyps (small growths in the lining of the nose)
  4. Tooth infections
  5.  A deviated septum.
  6. Weak immune system

Types of sinus infections

There are 4 types of sinus infections. They are categorized based on their length and recurrence of infection.

Acute sinusitis

A type of sinus infection that can be caused by cold or allergies.  Usually starts with cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, stuffy nose, and facial pain. Acute sinusitis usually gets resolved on its own and can last 2 to 4 weeks. Mostly caused by bacteria infection. 

Chronic sinusitis

Another type of sinus infection that lasts longer than an acute sinus infection. Chronic sinusitis lasts up to 12 weeks and may be caused by an infection

Recurrent acute sinusitis

This type of sinus infection occurs 4 or more times within a year. Each infection lasts for more than 7 days.

Subacute sinusitis. 

A subacute sinus infection is another type of sinus infection that lasts between 4 and 12 weeks.

Symptoms of sinus infection

Below are some of the symptoms of sinus infection

Runny nose with or without loss of sense of smell (anosmia) 

One annoying symptom of a sinus infection is that it comes with a runny nose. You may need to blow your nose often to get rid of nasal discharge (usually green or yellow in nature). This discharge comes from your infected sinuses and goes into your nasal passages.

The discharge can also bypass your nose and drain down the back of your throat. You may feel a tickle, an itch, or even a sore throat.

This is referred to as postnasal drip, and it may cause you to cough at night when you are lying down to sleep, and in the morning after getting up. It can also make your voice sound hoarse. 

Nasal congestion

Sinus infection can restrict how well you can breathe through your nose. It causes swelling in your sinuses and nasal pathways which can create a blockage

Headaches

The constant pressure can give you symptoms of headache and earaches. Mostly happens in the morning because fluids have been accumulating all night long. 

Throat irritation

When discharge from your sinuses goes down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, mostly over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can worsen when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.

Fever

Fever is also another symptom of a sinus infection although not common.

How to treat sinus infection

  1. The doctor or pharmacist may prescribe the use of a nasal decongestant spray or drops , such as oxymetazoline and paracetamol , this can help relieve sinus infection symptoms in the short term and relieve headaches.
  2. Nasal irrigation. This involves cleaning or flushing your nose with sterile water or a nasal solution. Doctors recommend tap water be boiled and allowed to cool before your clean out your nose
  3. A doctor may recommend Antibiotics like amoxicillin to treat acute sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection
  4. Staying hydrated can also ease mucus congestion 

Why does sinus infection lead to loss of taste?

Swelling and excessive mucus build up in the sinuses block the nerve endings deep within the nose that are responsible for sensing smells. Due to the close relation of sense of smell and sense of taste, sinus infection with its swelling, excessive mucus build-up and blockage can lead to loss of taste.

Home remedies to get your taste back after sinus infection 

Here are some home remedies to help you get your sense of taste back after a sinus infection

Ginger 

Consuming a small piece of raw ginger daily at regular intervals can help you regain your sense of taste. The strong aroma of ginger can help enhance your sense of taste 

Sniffing essential oils. 

The daily routine of sniffing essential oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, cloves, rose, and sesame oil. 

Also, a drop of sesame oil in each nostril every day for at least a month can help you get your sense of taste back after a sinus infection

Staying hydrated

Constantly keeping yourself hydrated can help you regain your sense of taste back after a sinus infection. Drinking water regularly will ensure your body is getting rid of toxins that are responsible for blocking your sense of taste.

Why does sinus infection lead to loss of smell?

Sinus infection disrupts the olfactory receptors in the nasal lining which can lead to loss of smell. Also, due to inflammation caused by sinus infection, interferes with the ability of your sinus to drain which is why you experience a loss of smell. 

Home remedies to get back loss of smell

Anosmia can be permanent or temporary. It often fades gradually over time, without treatment or intervention. However, some interventions can facilitate quicker regain of sense of smell. 

Below are some home remedies to get back your sense of smell

Castor oil

Castor oil can be used to regain your sense of smell. “Put one drop of warm castor oil in each nostril. It is necessary to do it twice a day for the best results. This practice is beneficial in eliminating inflammation,” says Dr. Ankita Gupta, Ayurvedic expert from Birla Ayurveda.

Garlic

Another home remedy that can be used to regain your sense of smell is garlic.

Add 2 to 3 chopped garlic pods to a cup of water. Boil the ingredients in a saucepan. Once the mixture cools down, strain it completely and drink it. The anti-inflammatory properties of garlic compounds can help treat a clogged nose.

Ginger 

Use a piece of peeled ginger and chew it slowly. It is important to chew the ginger at regular intervals. The aroma of ginger is strong and can enhance your sense of smell and taste.

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WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Author at Wapomu.com

Dr. Abel Daartey is a pharmacist by profession, a teacher, and a mentor by nature. He enjoys reading scientific journals and articles and publications in neuroscience and related topics. He aims at churning out content that educates the public and health care providers in meeting the healthcare needs of the populace.

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