What weird treatments should people who lost their taste from COVID try?

post by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) · 2021-07-30T02:51:25.598Z · LW · GW · 14 comments

This is a question post.

My friend had COVID in September 2020 and never got her taste back. What low-risk random things should she try doing to get it back? Recommendations need not be backed by anything stronger than “a friend of a friend heard…” or “I saw it on TikTok” - I’m looking for a broad library of things for her to consider trying. She is sane and is not the type to drink bleach or whatever, so don’t worry about recommending questionable things.


answer by ejacob · 2021-07-30T17:14:45.892Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Two treatments I've heard of through unverified interwebs:

Ivermectin (yeah I follow that guy's YouTube, there's lots of study about it but afaik the usefulness for smell loss in particular is anecdotal). The mechanism would likely be that it clears out residual viral particles/pieces of cellular garbage that are causing damage.

LSD (apparently a small dose helped a guy? I think this story is on Zvi's latest covidpost.) Obviously a lot more risk with this one and I would guess it could only work by increasing sensory output because psychedelics. (This kinda tracks with the essential oils suggestion? Sniffing stuff a lot could rewire some neurons I guess.)

Good luck!

comment by Steven Byrnes (steve2152) · 2021-07-30T21:34:32.938Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If LSD works, I would guess that it works because low-level sensory processing normally has its learning rate set to ~0 in adults, but LSD increases the learning rate, allowing it to rewire and adapt itself, and in particular adjust its connections to ignore dead neurons or whatever. That's kinda uninformed speculation after reading this

comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) · 2021-07-30T17:48:26.472Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks. I had googled Ivermectin a bit yesterday but everything was talking about treating chronic fatigue. Is Ivermectin even a thing for smell/taste at all (anecdotally)? Sounds like you have heard of its use for those specific symptoms?

Replies from: jimmy
comment by jimmy · 2021-07-30T22:35:02.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

reddit.com/r/ivermectin talks about it for this purpose (1 2 3 4). 

To add an anecdote, I know someone who started taking ivermectin two weeks after getting covid, and their sense of smell returned after ~55hr (3 doses)

Replies from: maxwell-peterson
answer by rosyatrandom · 2021-07-30T12:01:52.670Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sniffing strong essential oils seems to have helped me regain at least some of my smell and taste

comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) · 2021-07-31T17:10:14.198Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks! Can you recommend a brand?

Replies from: rosyatrandom
comment by rosyatrandom · 2021-08-02T08:27:31.033Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just used whatever I had on the shelf -- the only recommendation I would make is to go for strong, personally-familiar scents. Pine tree, cinnamon, lavender, jasmine etc.

answer by wunan · 2021-07-30T03:00:37.121Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Psychedelics, maybe.

comment by Dokler · 2021-07-30T03:08:34.726Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I saw someone tweet a successful report of using LSD for this purpose.

Edit: went back to search for it and there seem to be many people discussing this and quite a few have found it helpful (much moreso for smell than taste, but of course the two are closely related and I believe that loss of smell was a more common experience).

comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) · 2021-07-30T03:31:13.286Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for that! I'd seen it mentioned in a tweet but we wondered about the veracity. Seeing another source is helpful.

answer by Logan Zoellner · 2021-07-30T16:41:41.424Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just started added massive quantities of the few things I could still taste/smell (in my case this meant a lot of ginger and chili pepper) until my sense of smell came back.

comment by Maxwell Peterson (maxwell-peterson) · 2021-07-30T16:58:46.810Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for your answer. Are you saying the strong flavors seemed to help kick your sense of smell into coming back faster? Or were they just a way of riding it out until the sense came back by itself?

Replies from: logan-zoellner
comment by Logan Zoellner (logan-zoellner) · 2021-07-31T12:23:08.882Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

n=1 isn't nearly enough data to answer that question unfortunately.


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