San Francisco Chronicle: Can ‘Sniff Training’ Restore COVID Survivors’ Sense of Smell?

Cat Berner slid a chicken into the oven in November and turned to chopping vegetables. It didn’t take long for her roommate to come running into the kitchen of their San Francisco flat, crying, “What’s burning?”

Berner whirled around. “What are you talking about?”

Berner, 31, an executive assistant for a venture capital firm, remembers that day as a turning point in her continuing effort to regain the sense of smell stolen by the coronavirus. It happened a few days after she and her friends, who had pledged to socialize only with each other, had a Halloween party and gave each other COVID-19.

“It was a big wake-up call for me,” Berner said of the day she charred the chicken and couldn’t smell it scorching. “Losing your sense of smell seems like it could be taken lightheartedly, but it’s very serious in some situations.”

Now, with a persistent symptom that places her in the company of CO VID long-haulers, Berner is undergoing the only known strategy doctors recommend to try to fix the problem: “sniff training.”

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