Suddenly not being able to smell or taste anything - how Cordula regained her sense of taste and smell

Cordula had just recovered from the flu when she lost her sense of taste and smell. She recovered them with the help of the PARI SINUS.

PARI blog: Cordula, when did you notice that you had suddenly lost your sense of smell?

Cordula Schweighöfer: It happened quite suddenly after I had the flu. From one day to the next, I couldn’t smell or taste anything. I noticed it when I was cooking. Smells I know like cinnamon, lemon and tomatoes were suddenly obliterated. Then I went over to a bunch of roses, but again, I couldn’t smell anything, nothing at all.

PARI blog: That must have given you a really bad shock.

Cordula Schweighöfer: Yes, it was pretty unpleasant. Especially as a mother. There I am, cooking for my family, standing at the stove and suddenly I can’t smell or taste anything.

PARI-Blog: How bad was that for you?

Cordula Schweighöfer: It’s really unpleasant and it affects everything. I only ate when I was hungry. I simply didn’t enjoy my food anymore. You also lose much of your sense of adventure and you only cook what you already know or you follow a recipe by the letter. While all this was going on, the only reason I went to restaurants was to be among friends.

I also lost a really important alarm system. Smoke, gas or just the milk boiling over - you don’t react to that anymore. I also didn’t know if food and drink were still fresh. This assurance your senses give you was simply missing. It really does have quite a negative impact on your day-to-day life, whether you are at home or out and about.

There were more subtle problems too - our sense of smell is very much involved in deciding if we like someone or not. I was often reminded of the novel “Perfume” by Patrick Süskind. It all adds up to lots of obstacles that impact your quality of life.

PARI blog: What illness brought this about?

Cordula Schweighöfer: I had full-blown flu. But it didn’t last long and was only mild. That could be because I had the flu jab. But by the time I lost my sense of taste and smell, I wasn’t actually ill anymore. But I now know that this can often happen with flu.

PARI blog: Did you go straight to your doctor?

Cordula Schweighöfer: No. I waited a while at first because I thought it would come back, it would sort itself out. After two to three weeks, I then went to an ENT specialist.

PARI blog: What tests did your doctor do?

CordulaSchweighöfer: After a general medical history, my sense of taste was tested with taste strips. Sweet, sour, salty and bitter strips of varying concentrations are placed in your mouth and you have to say if and what you can taste. My sense of smell was tested with odour strips. I think there were about 15 different ampoules with various odours. They are held under your nostrils for three seconds each. Based on the four options you then have to identify the smell, for instance rotten fish, tar, glue or lemon. This test helps to narrow down the problem.

I initially had to take the test every 6 weeks. Now it is only every 3-4 months. I didn’t find it disgusting because I couldn’t smell or taste anything. But I do remember that there was someone else in the room and when they put the “rotten fish” strip under my nose, he almost fell off his chair.

PARI blog: How worried were you that you would never smell or taste anything ever again?

Cordula Schweighöfer: Very worried. Having a sense of smell and taste is a significant factor when it comes to quality of life. It isn’t just the day-to-day situations like missing aromatic fruit; it’s the little things you miss too. For example, I like to wear perfume. You can’t tell anymore if you have applied too much or if it smells of anything at all. I only used perfumes I already knew. At a time like that I would never switch to one I didn’t know. What is also unpleasant is that you don’t know if you smell of sweat after exercise, for example. I don’t have a tendency to panic. But of course, I was scared that I had lost a very important safeguard and quality of life and may not regain it.

PARI blog: How did your family respond?

Cordula Schweighöfer: They were, of course, worried and had to support me in various situations. I often asked my family to try food and season it. I always had salt and pepper on the table during that time. We generally have a very healthy diet and make sure we buy high quality food. But because I couldn’t smell or taste anything, I was even more focused on good quality. We only bought fresh food wherever possible.

But for my husband it was really dangerous. He has a severe nut allergy and I am his “taster”. I used to have a very sensitive palate and always knew if there was even a trace of nuts in his food. With the loss of my sense of smell I couldn’t do that at all, which meant that it also affected my husband very deeply.

PARI blog: How are you today?

Cordula Schweighöfer: I am much better now. I completely lost my sense of smell and taste for what must have been at least nine months. The doctor kept reassuring me that they would take some time to recover and that my senses would gradually return. But initially nothing happened, and that was quite frustrating. Nowadays, I can’t smell and taste everything, but it is much better than it used to be.

PARI blog: Did you use PARI products too?

Cordula Schweighöfer: Yes, thank goodness. In the beginning I had injections, nasal spray and tablets containing standard corticosteroids, along with antibiotics and vitamins. After nothing worked, my corticosteroid treatment was switched to treatment with the PARI SINUS. I started inhaling the corticosteroid through my nose. The PARI SINUS transports the drug as a pulsed aerosol directly to where it is needed. After only a short time, there was a breakthrough with this treatment. I was delighted. After only 14 days of inhalation therapy with the PARI SINUS my sense of smell started to return. After all the failed treatments I was finally able to smell something. Since then I have been inhaling regularly with the PARI SINUS and my sense of smell and taste are almost completely restored.

PARI blog: How did you get along with the PARI SINUS?

Cordula Schweighöfer: The PARI SINUS is fantastic. It is really easy to clean and use. I just had to get used to how to use it. It is a bit of a change from other inhalation devices, but it really is very easy. You only have to hold one nostril closed, then guide the nebuliser to the other nostril and close off the roof of your mouth. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. My tip is that when you say “ing”, the roof of your mouth closes. You can also tell it is working because your nostril will vibrate a little. The inhalation solution is relatively quickly used up; it takes no more than two minutes per nostril. So minimum effort – maximum effect!

PARI-blog: Cordula, many thanks for talking to us.

Related topics and additional links:

Video: Was ist der PARI SINUS2 und wie wendet man ihn richtig an?

Auch der PARI SINUS2 macht aus der Salzlösung oder aus den Ihnen verschriebenen Medikamenten ein Aerosol. Aber nur der PARI SINUS2 generiert ein pulsierendes Aerosol. Dank der Pulsation kann es in Ihre Nasennebenhöhlen gelangen. In diesem Video sehen Sie, wie Sie den PARI SINUS2 richtig anwenden.

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Note: The statements made in the interview are the individual views of the interviewee. They do not necessarily reflect the PARI view or the general state of science.

An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.

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