Olfactory rehabilitation, the new recommendation for patients with persistent Covid-19


The vaccination campaign before the Covid-19 continues to advance around the world. However the Coronavirus has not left our surroundings, there are still thousands of people suffering the consequences of the persistent Covid-19, something that thanks to the rehabilitation It could improve in those who, despite having passed the disease, still continue to suffer the ravages that it leaves in some cases.

For this reason, the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (SEORL-CCC) have shown that olfactory rehabilitation improves the sense of smell in patients with persistent Coronavirus, one of the most common symptoms of Covid-19. In some patients this symptom persists beyond 4-12 weeks, according to the review document ‘Olfactory Dysfunction in Persistent COVID-19. Upgrade’.

At the moment, scientific studies do not support any drug therapy to restore smell in patients with persistent Covid-19 disorders. Despite this, in 2021 an article was published that studies the effect of olfactory rehabilitation (OR) in 548 patients with post-COVID-19 olfactory dysfunction; concluding that it significantly improves this function, especially if compliance was more than 28 days.

Olfactory rehabilitation in persistent Covid-19

«The classic guideline recommends carrying out two daily exposure exercises to 4 odorants: fruity, menthol, aromatic and floral, for a variable duration of 6-12 months. Another variety of odors and concentrations have been incorporated and it has been seen that being a non-invasive treatment it is highly recommended for the recovery of post-viral smell ”, explained one of the authors and president of the Rhinology Commission of the SEORL- CCC, Isam Alobid.

This type of persistent Coronavirus is defined by the presence of persistent or disabling symptoms, after having been acutely infected by Covid-19 for more than 4 to 12 weeks, after the onset of symptoms. According to the study authors, it is estimated that it can occur between 10-20 percent of patients who have suffered it.

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Respiratory rehabilitation for Covid-19

“Of all these symptoms, smell dysfunction is one of the most prevalent, since there is a significant percentage of patients in whom it persists beyond 4-12 weeks and generates greater disability and alteration of the quality of life” , has settled another of the study authors, Alfonso Santamaría-Gadea.

Respiratory rehabilitation exercises for Covid-19

In this sense, from home we can do countless diaphragmatic rehabilitation exercises, postural, aerobic and controlled exercises to improve respiratory capacity. Of course, we must always be supervised and guided by a physiotherapist to meet the objectives set.

«These are exercises that are usually performed lying on their back or sitting down, in which physiotherapists teach and guide the patient so that when taking the air they do it exclusively through the nose, while activating the diaphragm and releasing the air only through the mouth, slowly and consciously, to improve breathing, “says Dr. Carlos Tapia, director of physiotherapy at the Vithas Arturo Soria Hospital and a specialist in respiratory rehabilitation exercises.

Another exercise is to place the hands in the areas where there is more pulmonary fibrosis. In this way, the patient is aware of where they have to take the air when they breathe in, especially to improve ventilation in those areas where more tissue has been damaged.

In addition, it is also advisable to stretch the dorsal muscles in order to improve the muscle tone of the area and thus favor the mobility of the diaphragm. Experts also recommend blowing up balloons and doing inspirational and sad exercises.

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