ZocdocAnswersWill my sense of smell come back?

Question

Will my sense of smell come back?

I've lost my sense of smell from cleaning and using bleach. My nose is stuffy, but I was able to smell before I started cleaning with bleach. I can taste a little, but I can't smell anything.

Answer

I'm sorry to hear about this! I would recommend going to see your primary care doctor about the issue. They can perform an examination and figure out what exactly is going on. It is possible to get chemical burns inside the nose from strong chemical vapors, like bleach or ammonia. This can lead to pain, stuffiness, and impairment of the sense of smell. In very severe cases, it can cause swelling of the airways, which can lead to trouble breathing and can be a real medical emergency. Most of the time, this kind of severe injury is caused by direct inhalation of very concentrated chemicals, or working in a small unventilated space. If you are having any trouble breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest pain these could all be signs of a severe reaction and you should go immediately to an emergency room rather than waiting to see your primary care doctor. If not, then getting in as soon as possible to see your regular doctor is probably sufficient. In addition to ruling out a chemical injury, they can also investigate other potential causes of your symptoms, such as sinus problems or nasal allergies. Based on what they find, they'll be able to recommend treatments. Make an appointment today!

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