Lost or changed sense of smell
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A lost or changed sense of smell is most often caused by a cold or flu, sinusitis, an allergy like hay fever or growths in your nose (nasal polyps).
Rinsing the inside of your nose with a saltwater solution may help if your sense of smell is affected by an infection or allergy.
A lost or changed sense of smell may slowly get better on its own. Sometimes the cause can be treated, such as steroid nasal sprays for nasal polyps.
A change in your sense of smell can be unpleasant and can also affect taste. But it’s not usually serious and may get better in a few weeks or months.
Page last reviewed: 01/12/2023
Next review due: 01/12/2026