The Tale of a (Possible) Former Asnomic 

February 27, 2021 – Adrianna Holt, Adult Services

What is anosmia? Should I say “Gesundheit” when someone says it? No. Anosmia is basically not being able to smell or “smell blindness.” It is the loss of the ability to detect one or more smells. Sometimes it is temporary, but sometimes it is a bit more permanent. However, it is different from Hyposmia, which is a decreased sensitivity to some or all smells. Anosmia and Hyposmia are the loss of one’s vital senses and a lot of people do not understand the consequences that it can present for the asnomic’s safety and quality of life. Is your car leaking gas? Don’t know because you can’t smell it. Is there food burning or a literal fire in your home? Hopefully, the cat will tell you (if you have one). You could lie to your friends and say that the expensive candle they bought smells fantastic when they hold it up to your nose…or you can remind them again that you cannot smell it. The fact is that you do not really have one of the six senses and you try your hardest to be able to circumvent that, but sometimes to no avail. It can really make you feel a sense (haha) of loss because you cannot relate to others when they say such things as, “Wow, that smells soooo good” or “Somebody must have hit a skunk.” Maybe you have to determine whether your friends do not like you or they smelled that SBD (Silent But Deadly) fart that you let out…that you cannot smell. You become dependent on others to tell you what something tastes like or smells like. It really can cause a lot of issues in your daily life.

All of the questions asked above have actually happened to me…except for the fart one. For most of my life, I was unable to really smell anything. I could not detect certain tastes like “normal” people because smell and taste are very closely connected and if one is no longer functioning well, then so is the other. This issue was so weird that my parents took me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. They suggested surgery to get rid of my tonsils and thankfully my parents said NO. Some asnomics have issues with nasal polyps that can be removed and return some sense of smell, but the polyps can also return which starts a painful and never-ending cycle. It’s not the worst problem to possibly have but it definitely puts a strain on a lot of things. I have not been clinically diagnosed as having anosmia or hyposmia, however, I’m not quite sure what else it could have been. During the quarantine, a lot of people tried different things to help boost their immune systems or be healthier in general. So I finally listened to my husband and started using a certain nasal spray and WOW I could smell! I could smell my tea brewing in the morning, my pumpkin candle burning, and unfortunately, the noxious smells that come out of humans and cats. Please consult your doctor if you are experiencing recent loss of smell or taste because that’s probably not anosmia…

Anyway, February 27th became Anosmia Awareness Day in 2012 and was first launched by Daniel Schein, an American man with olfactory dysfunction. He created an event page on Facebook that declared February 27th as Anosmia Awareness Day and to wear red to show support for the cause. Thankfully, various smell and taste centers have popped up throughout the United States, from California to New York, and have launched their backing and encouragement behind the event, joining it with research and educational initiatives aimed at patients, doctors, and the ordinary populace. Fifth Sense, a UK-based charity that administers provides support and information to people with olfactory disorders, has added Anosmia Awareness Day to its international online awareness and fundraising campaign called #LongLostSmell.

The nose always knows…but sometimes it doesn’t. #LongLostSmell

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