COVID-19

Lost your sense of smell?

Talking with Your Child About Smell and Taste

Smell loss can also happen in childhood. What can you do to learn more?

One thing scientists know about the virus that causes COVID-19 is that it can make some cells in the nose suddenly stop working for a while. Often, these cells restart working, though not always properly. How can you help your child express changes in their sense of smell and taste and possibly detect COVID-19?

Scientists at Monell and Temple University prepared a few tools to help:

  • Check out this flyer to the right with information on how to talk about smell and taste with your child
  • If you want some help, participate in this 5-minute activity which can help you monitor your child’s smell and taste changes
  • Watch this video to better understand smell and taste loss and have a walk-through of the activity

    Bonus: This is a great activity to do with your kids and engage them in science over the holiday break.

If you have any questions, please email us at valentina.parma@temple.edu

Scientific Research

Read about a Monell and Temple University team that recently became part of a new National Institute of Health-funded initiative called the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostic Radical program. The NIH invested $107 million at 43 institutions across the country to support non-traditional and repurposed technologies to combat the pandemic and address future viral disease outbreaks. The award represents a significant achievement as Monell’s first major effort to validate SCENTinel, a rapid smell test.

Read about how smell tests using direct measures versus self-report show 75% of people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell.

A real-time COVID-19 Smell Loss tracker. Created at Monell, this tool allows people to stay up-to-date with global COVID-19 research, specifically studies reporting smell loss. Please be patient – the page takes a moment to load.

Read about how you can participate in (and share) a Monell study regarding your sense of smell and COVID-19.

Learn about a self-administered test to track the acuity of your senses of smell and taste, the loss of which are useful predictors of COVID-19.

Check Your Smell

Sudden loss of smell is a sensitive indicator of COVID infection

Six Features of a Comprehensive Smell Test

We have received many questions about smell tests for COVID-19 symptom checking. Building on years of experience developing the NIH Toolbox® Odor Identification Test and other smell tests, scientists Dr. Pam Dalton, from Monell, and Dr. Valentina Parma, from Temple University and Monell, created the following list of the six most-important features of a smell-test suitable for COVID-19 surveillance:

  1. Can be administered quickly without trained personnel
  2. Uses easily identified odors and avoids strong odors such as mint or cinnamon that activate the trigeminal nerve
  3. Has multiple versions to allow for repeat testing with the same person over time
  4. Presents odor choices at the same intensity every time (a decrease in the perceived intensity of odor is an important early symptom of COVID-19)
  5. Offered as a single-use material to prevent disease spread
  6. Designed so that “correct” answers are not easy to guess

Taking all these features into consideration, a smell test was recently developed by the Monell-Temple team. To learn more about the test, contact scentinel@monell.org and read more here in a scientific preprint publication!

Watch More

Read More from Monell

Read an interview with Pam Dalton, who studies how emotions and thought patterns affect the way people perceive odor and sensory input from their surroundings (July 31, 2020)

Read a press release about Monell’s involvement in the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Researchers (GCCR). (Apr 7, 2020)

Read an interview with Dr. Bruce Kimball – who studies how disease alters animals’ body odors – about how his work may possibly inform the COVID-19 pandemic. (Apr 6, 2020)

Monell in the News