Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It's a condition that means you've lost all sense of smell.

I heard about it on the news this evening and was horrified - I had no idea that something like this even existed! Aparently something as seemingly common and innocent as a sinus infection can wipe out all your smelly senses. Oh no!

The case-study they presented on the tv was of a 50-something woman who, since losing her sense of smell, no longer enjoyed food and lost 20lbs. This could explain why:

Tasting is actually smelling. It is commonly thought that the flavour of food is experienced by the 'tastebuds' on the tongue; in fact, the mouth distinguishes only rudimentary information on sweetness, saltiness, sourness and bitterness. Odour molecules from food rise to the olfactory epithelium and supplement the information from the tongue with much more sophisticated data. That's why food tastes bland when you have a head cold; the olfactory epithelium is clogged with mucus and can't function properly.

Fortunately ansomnia can be temporary since your smelling nerves can actually regenerate over time. Even so, "temporary" can mean years!

As someone who experiences the world through smell -who smells the faintest whiff of anything foul at 100 yards, and can dig-up a 30 year-old memory after experiencing smell deja-vu - I can't think of anything worse.

Moral of the story: if you blow out green snot, go to the doctor. You could have a sinus infection and it could wipe out your smelly nerves!

Public Health Announcement Over. Take care of your nose, people!

1 comment:

e said...

Yup. I second that. That's why, as gross as it sounds, I always check out the snot that I produce when I have a cold to make sure it's clear. Green = sinus infection. Bad. Sometimes sinus infections require your sinuses to be drained, which involves sticking thick, long needles into your sinuses and sucking out the stuff. I kid you not.

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