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Can You Lose Taste With A Sinus Infection

Signs Of A Sinus Infection

Ask Dr. Mike: What is a sinus infection and how do I treat it?

A sinus infection is something you want to deal with right away to prevent it from escalating. However, its not easy to discern between the different symptoms and what they mean. After all, an infection manifests itself in a similar way to the flu or a cold, so you cant always act decisively.

With that in mind, here are some signs you have a sinus infection and should see an ear, nose and throat doctor.

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How To Determine If You Have A Sinus Infection Or Covid

There are a number of overlapping symptoms between COVID-19 and sinus infections. These may include fevers, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, along with the feeling of facial pressure, says Robert Glatter, MD, an emergency medicine physician atLenox Hill Hospitalin New York.

COVID-19 causes upper respiratory tract inflammation, and the sinus cavities are often affected to some degree, agrees Geoff Trenkle, DO, board-certified ENT surgeon, CEO and founder of LA Center for Ear, Nose, Throat, and Allergy.

Because they have such similar symptoms, its best to consult with a healthcare professional and take a COVID-19 test.

If you are hospitalized with COVID-19, other treatments have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use these treatments for severe cases include convalescent plasma , Olumiant , and Actemra .

For viral sinus infections, supportive care is best, such as:

  • Irrigating the sinuses with a neti pot and saline rinse to loosen mucus
  • Applying warm compresses to relieve facial pain and pressure
  • Breathing in steam to open up nasal passages
  • Using a saline nasal spray to reduce sinus congestion
  • Trying a decongestant or nasal corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and decrease mucus production

To prevent a sinus infection, Dr. Trenkle advises good nasal hygiene. That can include:

Losing Taste With Sinus Infection

Lots of patients report losing taste with sinus infection. This is because the inflammation and drainage from your sinus cavities affects your nose, which in turn distorts your senses of taste and smell. This can also happen when patients have a cold, allergies or any other condition that causes congestion.

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Why Do I Lose My Taste During A Sinus Infection

Unlike a novel coronavirus infection, a sinus infection doesnt usually cause a direct loss of taste. Instead, the sense of smell is the first to go.

Sinus infections cause inflammation within the nasal cavities and passageways. This swelling blocks the flow of air through your nose and prevents it from reaching the olfactory nerve thats responsible for your sense of smell.

Since air carries odor particles, when it cant reach your olfactory nerve, youre not going to be able to smell anything.

Because your sense of taste relies so heavily upon your ability to smell, the inflammation caused by a sinus infection can lead to a dulled sense of taste.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider About Sinusitis

How to Get Taste Back After Sinus Infection » Residence Style

Though many cases of acute sinusitis can improve with little to no treatment, you should call the doctor if you experience any painful symptoms. An antibiotic may be needed for a bacterial infection.

If you find that your sinuses do not feel better after 10 days, symptoms have gotten worse, or you have symptoms that initially improved and then worsen five to six days later , you should contact your healthcare provider. Symptoms that continue after about four weeks may mean you have subacute or chronic sinusitis. If you develop other types of symptoms, such as severe eye swelling, or you are just not sure what you should do next, call your provider.

If you have facial pain, and you have healthy teeth, you can try things like nasal rinses and warm, wet washcloths on your face to see if you find some relief. If so, and if your symptoms go away in about 10 days, you probably have had acute sinusitis and it has gotten better on its own. If not, and you continue to feel ill after three or four weeks, call your provider.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/04/2020.


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Viral Damage And Nasal Sinus Disease

In adults, the two most common causes of smell problems that we see at our Clinic are: Smell loss due to an ongoing process in the nose and/or sinuses such as nasal allergies and smell loss due to injury of the specialized nerve tissue at the top of the nose from a previous viral upper respiratory infection. Individuals who lose their sense of smell as a result of a respiratory virus generally give us a very clear history of dating their smell loss from a time when they were experiencing cold or flu symptoms. These patients are typically in the older age groups. The smell loss is partial rather than total for many, and can be associated with taste loss, parosmias and/or dysgeusias. There is no known effective therapy for taste and/or smell problems due to presumed viral damage. Specifically, treatment with zinc is not recommended because it was not demonstrated to be any more effective than placebo. Some patients will recover function with time. We have followed some individuals with this disorder long-term. Of these, only 18 percent significantly improved their smell function on retesting. Improvement was gradual. Although this low improvement rate is discouraging, it should be remembered that we typically see the worst cases here at the Taste and Smell Clinic. There are probably many individuals out in the community who lost their sense of smell as a result of a virus and recovered it within short periods of time.

When Is The Right Time To Look For A Doctor

Losing the sense of taste and feeling cold because of the allergens is temporary. But in certain serious conditions, it can be a sign of serious complications. It may lead to malnutrition, poor quality of life, overeating, and under-eating habits.

Approach a doctor and seek immediate medical help if your symptoms go beyond the chest congestion. However, chest congestion is itself a serious medical condition. It can bring many unwanted changes to the body. Most of the hazardous diseases enter the body through upper respiratory infection or chest congestion. You can work on your symptoms, then only you can get your taste back after a sinus infection.

The Takeaway

Sense of taste is strongly connected with the sense of smell. You need both the abilities to taste your food. Many things may interfere with the smell and taste of food. This may further include, colds, allergies, influenza, and other medical conditions. Also, even if you have regained your taste, the symptoms may affect you adversely or may come and go in intervals. Loss of taste and senses can also be a sign of COVID-19 or corona. Treat yourself and get to know the symptoms. Acknowledgment and having a good sense of choice at the time of disease create all differences.

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Upper Respiratory Tract Infection

The upper respiratory tract infections are the main reason behind the lost taste and smell during common colds and flu that result in nasal congestion. These infections are treated with over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, cough medicines, cough drops, and flu medicines.

Home remedies like nasal irrigations or nasal sprays are also effective for alleviating congestion.

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What Effects Does A Loss Of Sense Of Smell Have

Sinusitis, Animation.

Individuals with anosmia might lose interest in eating and food which could lead to weight loss and malnutrition.

When you have anosmia, you should ensure you have functioning smoke alarms in your home in various locations. You should also be careful with the use of natural gas and with food storage since you might have issues detecting gas leaks and spoiled food.

Some suggested precautions are:

  • Read labels on chemicals like insecticides and kitchen cleaners

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Can A Sinus Infection Cause Loss Of Taste

Sinus infections can make you miserable: they are painful, inconvenient, and can be tricky to treat, but can a sinus infection cause loss of taste? It can start to seem a bit cruel when, after long days of fighting off cold and flu-like symptoms, you are still unable to taste the chicken noodle soup that was meant to be the highlight of a miserable day on the couch leaving you to wonder whether your loss of sense and smell is just another pesky symptom.

The inability to enjoy the things we love can make a difficult time nearly intolerable. Want to know when and how you can get back to tasting your favorite foods? You are in the right place.

Why Am I Losing My Sense Of Smell

According to Tajudeen, smell loss is most commonly caused by nasal and sinus inflammation. This inflammation can occur due to sinusitis, polyps in the nose and even allergies. It can act as a barrier for smell molecules to enter your nose, meaning you cant physically pick up the smell.

These types of conditions can cause a progressive loss of smell, too. You may notice a gradual decrease in your smelling abilities over a span of several years due to the built-up inflammation in your nose.

This type of smell loss is actually the easiest to treat, Tajudeen explains, because doctors are able to treat the inflammatory condition, enabling you to regain your sense of smell.

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Is A Sinus Infection Contagious

The majority of sinus infections are caused by viruses. If your infection is viral, then its possible to spread the virus that caused the sinus infection, but the infection itself that is already established is not transmissible.

Another person who caught the virus you carried may or may not become ill, Dr. Glatter says. Whether they get sick depends on their immune defenses, sinus anatomy, general health, along with underlying medical conditions. The majority of such viruses typically lead to colds or cold-like symptoms , but not to sinus infections.

How To Get Your Taste Back After A Sinus Infection

13 Anosmia ideas

David Cuthbertson, MD

Youve been dealing with a nasty sinus infection for a few days. Its a little annoying, but youre pushing through.

Then it happens. Youve been looking forward to your favorite lasagna all week. You sit down to the special meal ready to relish it. But that first bite Oh no! Its flavorless mush! Youve completely lost your taste!

Whats happening? Can a sinus infection cause that? Do you have COVID-19?

If youve ever found yourself wondering how to get your taste back after a sinus infection, look no further.

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How Can I Prevent Loss Of Taste In The Future

Preventing sinus infections from developing in the first place is the best way to ensure you keep enjoying your meals.

If youre prone to seasonal allergies, make regular sinus irrigation a habit during the seasons that affect you the most.

You may also want to talk to an ENT doctor about treating your allergies more aggressively with prescription allergy medications to prevent the swelling that blocks the sinuses.

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Damage To Smell Receptors Which Affect The Taste

The smell receptors happen to be situated at the roof of the nose as cilia or tiny hairs covered by a thin mucus membrane.

According to medical researchers, they detect an odor of substances by fast detecting the chemical components of the substanceâs molecules, giving rise to the ability to detect almost a trillion different odors.

The surgeon must access the nasal cavity before accessing the sinuses during sinus surgery. In the process, the smell receptors at the roof of the nasal cavity may interfere either totally or partially. Such damage may end up causing irreversible loss of the sense of smell and hence that of taste after the sinus surgery.

Therefore, it becomes imperative for surgeons to avoid damaging the smell receptors during sinus surgery. Loss of the sense of smell and hence that of taste can significantly affect the livelihood of any person.

In some people, it may even lead to stress and depression.

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Can You Get A Sinus Infection After Covid

It is possible to get a bacterial sinus infection after having COVID-19. The acute inflammatory response from viral upper respiratory infections can cause the sinuses to close up and become infectedespecially if you have chronic sinusitis. Those that get sinus infections often are more susceptible due to lack of good mucociliary flow, explains Dr. Trenkle.

Dr Sarah Jarvis Says:

Deadly sinus infection

Changes in your sense of smell are rarely life-threatening, but they can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Your senses of smell and taste are closely linked, and many people who lose their sense of smell find that food loses much of its taste as well. You can recognise basic tastes bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami without needing smell, but more complex flavours need both senses to appreciate them fully. In fact, most of the flavour of food is largely due to its smell.

Like taste, smell is a chemical sense. Receptors in your nose turn messages from smells received into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. You can smell food through your nose without tasting it but when youre eating, the smells also travel to the back of your nose from the back of your mouth.

One of the most common reasons for a distorted sense of smell is the common cold. The build-up of mucus blocks the delicate chemoreceptors that line the nose, affecting their ability to be stimulated and send those electrical signals. Hay fever, which can also lead to a build-up of mucus and a blocked along with a runny, itchy nose, can have the same effect. However, these conditions are unlikely to lead to abnormal smells partial or complete loss of sense of smell is more likely.

A more common reason for a musty smell in the nose is a sinus infection. This can be acute or chronic .

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Best In Class Treatment For Sinus Infections

If youre experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection, the experienced ENT specialists at Chicago ENT can correctly diagnose your symptoms and help you breathe better.

Our team will work together to customize the ideal treatment plan for your needs. Schedule an appointment at Chicago ENT in Chicago, IL, and get the relief from chronic sinus infections you need!

How To Get Rid Of Sinus Infection Odors

The best way to get rid of sinus infection odors is to seek sinus infection treatment. For some, over-the-counter medications and rest are enough treatment to do the trick. And we also recommend checking out our list of the best foods for sinus infection treatment.

But for those suffering from frequent or chronic sinus infections, it may be best to seek additional medical treatment. One of the most minimally invasive treatments available for chronic sinusitis is balloon sinuplasty, which is an in-office procedure that provides long-lasting sinusitis relief.

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Antibiotics For A Severe Sinus Infection

You may be surprised that antibiotics are not listed as the first step in treatment. While many patients with sinusitis expect antibiotics, they aren’t usually needed if good drainage is achieved.

Antibiotics have potential disadvantages. They can trigger allergic reactions or cause side effects. Widespread use of antibiotics has encouraged the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria . And many of these drugs are expensive.

Still, if your sinusitis does not improve with two to four days of drainage therapy, or if it’s very severe to begin with, it probably needs an antibiotic to help get rid of the trapped bacteria. Antibiotic therapy for just three to seven days is generally as effective as traditional 10- to 14-day treatment for uncomplicated acute sinusitis.

Many bacteria can cause acute sinusitis the most common include some with fearsome names like Pneumococcus, Streptococcus, Hemophilus, and Moraxella. Unless you have a sinus puncture , there’s really no way to know which bacteria are causing your sinusitis. Cultures of your mucus or your nose, even if they are obtained through a nasal speculum, are not helpful because they are always contaminated by the many bacteria that live in every nose.

How Is Acute Sinusitis Diagnosed


Acute sinusitis is usually diagnosed by discussing all of your symptoms and medical history with your doctor. In a physical exam, your doctor will look at the ears, nose, and throat to check for any blockage, swelling, and drainage. If allergies are suspected, your doctor will can have an allergy test performed to determine what allergens might be the cause of your sinusitis.

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When Should I See A Doctor

If you lose your sense of smell and taste because of a cold or sinus infection, give yourself some time. Your smell and taste should return within a few days of the cold clearing up. Consider making an appointment with an ENT specialist if you answer yes to any of the following:

  • Is my loss of smell and taste unexplainable?
  • Has it come on suddenly?
  • Has it lasted more than a few days?
  • Is it severe?

An ENT specialist can determine the underlying cause of your loss of smell. This process will include a series of questions to understand your symptoms and onset. It may also include several tests, including an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or a nasal endoscopy to see inside your nose.

After understanding the cause of your loss of smell, your ENT specialist can offer treatment options. This may be as simple as an OTC decongestant or may require a surgical procedure to remove obstructions.

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