Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: Losing Sense of Smell Nasal Decongestants

Why Am I Losing My Sense of Smell?

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 10:00 AM

Question: My sense of smell has diminished, but seems to improve when I take a decongestant. Is this OK for me to do, or are there other ways to improve my sense of smell?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
Oral decongestants are fine for occasional use as are topical nasal sprays. But if you find yourself using one regularly, it’s the time to be evaluated to identify the cause of your conditions and a more effective long-term management strategy than chasing the symptom itself.
Mild allergies and perennial rhinitis are both very common. See your doctor to see if you might benefit from a daily non-sedating antihistamine (like Zyrtec or Allegra), a leukotriene blocker (such as Singulair), a topical nasal cortisone spray (such as Flonase Aq), or a mast cell stabilizer (such as Intal). Your doctor may recommend a treatment trial of one or several of these products while testing you for allergies.
If you smoke, you should quit, and it’s a good idea to try to minimize your exposure to solvents, paints, and other nasal irritants (which can include some makeup preparations). This shouldn’t be too much of a problem to resolve for you.

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