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Postviral olfactory loss

      An acute upper respiratory infection, usually of viral origin, often will be associated with a loss of smell. In this early phase, this is typically a conductive or obstructive loss secondary to mucosal edema. As the cold symptoms resolve, olfactory function usually returns. In some patients, however, this loss will persist, despite a lack of residual nasal congestion or sinus pathology. At this point, the loss has become sensorineural secondary to the viral insult. Most of these patients postpone medical consultation, thinking their sense of smell will return. Only after several months or longer will they finally admit that recovery is not likely, and present to a physician.
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