Important! Crowdsourcing Covid-19 symptom survey needs YOUR help

Perfumer and brand founder Christophe Laudamiel has joined the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research in calling attention to the loss of smell as a vital clue in the on-going fight against the Covid-19 virus.

Laudamiel writes:

‘An incredibly surprising twist to the pandemic is that a unique symptom of COVID-19, even among those who barely feel any other symptoms, is an abrupt and total loss of the sense of smell. That loss lasts for about a week and is scary enough for the public to realise the importance of their noses…’

As we previously reported back when #lockdown first began, this loss of smell is often the only symptom noticed, and it’s incredibly important to tell your doctor about this, and take actions, because otherwise you may be unwittingly spreading the virus.

Now, the scientific community are working together – and asking for YOUR help – to create a global database of anonymously submitted symptoms, so that the spread of all respitory illnesses / loss of smell type smptoms can be tracked. It is vital to have a global databse of this information for any true picture, and for work to be done on creating a possible vaccine or other preventative measures to be taken.

The Global Consortium consists of open-science contributors: transdisciplinary scientists, clinicians, and patient advocates from all over the world, and their advice is:

– If you lose your sense of smell, call your doctor and get tested. This will potentially save your life, and the lives of those near you.

– If you have, or think you have suffered from Covid-19, or even from a cold or ‘Flu in 2020, we ask that you very crucially ANSWER THIS OFFICIAL PUBLIC-SAFETY SURVEY

Says Laudamiel: ‘The survey will take about ten minutes and is totally anonymous, hosted on an open Penn State University server and ccomplies to EU rules and global ethic standards.

English, Spanish, French, German and 6 other languages are available, 20 more languages to come very soon.

Please take it seriously. The results will be published and immediately utilised by health authorities, doctors, patients and olfactory workers worldwide.’

By taking just a few minutes to report any symptoms you have – you will be doing the whole world a favour. And apart from anything else, it will be fascinating for scientists to see how widespread the loss of of the sense of smell is on a global scale. This is an issue that’s been too long ignored or not taken particularly seriously, and those who have suffered smell loss can tell you how utterly devastating this can be, quite apart from the fact that smell loss is already recognised as a possible early warning sign of Alzheimers and now, known to be a symptom of Covid-19 too…

By Suzy Nightingale

AbScent – Lost your sense of smell? They can help…

Chrissi Kelly lost her sense of smell in 2012. She had no idea how seriously this would impact on her life – and how many people struggle with this on a daily basis. Since then, she’s launched AbScent and devoted her life to finding out more about the loss of smell, and developed Snif: a smell training app that’s a personal coach to re-building or enhancing the sense of smell…

Since the devastating loss of smell caused by a virus, Chrissi Kelly has been busy founding the charity AbScent, and supporting thousands of other people with smell loss through smell training. Having taken courses with Professor Thomas Hummel, the author of the first research paper on smell training at the University of Dresden, Germany; Chrissi used his tried and trusted techniques alongside specially devised ‘smell training kits’, which have significantly helped people to reconnect with their recovering sense of smell. Chrissi also speaks at conferences, runs workshops, online events and private sessions to support people with the condition. She’s a busy woman, indeed, and we were thrilled to join her at Jo Malone London‘s flagship Regent Street Store, recently, where they were kindly playing host to the official launch of AbScent.

 

 

Chrissi explained ‘the three pillars of smell training’ approach AbScent use to aid those with a loss of smell – be that from a head injury, illness, medication or even those who were born with what they perceive as no sense of smell at all. The message is, there is help out there, and there are active ways you can learn more, connect with others and improve your sense of smell with time.

Step 1:Find out where your sense of smell is today. Use the AbScent self-assessment form, here. You won’t know if you are improving if you don’t know where you’ve started.’

Step 2: Smell Train. There are full instructions for making your own Smell Training Kit, here. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a pre-assembled Smell Training Kit.

Step 3: Take note of your experiences. AbScent provide a guide for keeping notes and a downloadable diary.

You can also now use the online Snif App – to ‘guide and instruct users so that each smell training session is consistent and productive. Snif becomes a personal coach that takes the guesswork out of practicing, presenting a mindful and focussed way of tracking your development. Currently web-based, a native app is in the works.

 

 

Think of it as physiotherapy for your nose,’ AbScent explain. ‘The brain can rewire itself, but this is a slow process. Smell training is a commitment and it takes time. You will need to train for a minimum of four months, twice a day.’ That may seem like quite an undertaking, but when you realise how earth-shattering a loss of smell can be, it’s definitely worthwhile. ‘I’d say that pretty much everyone who has suffered loss of smell goes on to develop depression in varying forms,’ Chrissi told us.

Imagine not being able to smell your own child, your partner – yourself. Or wondering is a phantom burning smell is actually your house burning down – a loss of smell isn’t simply not being able to smell things as well/at all: it can come with a whole host of disturbing side-effects, such as all food and drink suddenly tasting foul (leading to eating disorders or malnutrition).

It can feel incredibly difficult to go to your doctor if you’re not sure how to describe your symptoms, or what they need to know. Be assured that the medical profession are now – thank goodness – taking smell loss seriously. And AbScent have made a guide to talking to your doctor, so you know exactly what to say. They even have a list of clinics to go for further help.

 

 

AbScent have also launched a Sense of Smell Project. ‘We are trying to learn more about what it is like to live with this condition and how people’s lives change as a result.’ By taking part in their survey and telling your story, you can help them get a clear overview of subjects that may have not been considered, in order to ‘develop healing strategies and better ways to support patients.’

We cannot applaud enough, the work that Chrissi and her AbScent team have done so far, and their aims of helping even more people who may well have been ignored – or not even taken their own loss of smell seriously – for so long. We also hope that other fragrance houses will join in the support. Smell loss can strike any one of us at any time, and if we all work together, what a world of sensorial discoveries we could uncover…

By Suzy Nightingale