Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

Have you heard of Anosmia

5 Apr 2016I had a basic familiarity of what Anosmia is but I didn't know a lot about it. When I read this article about A life without smell, I thought I would use this as an opportunity to find out more and then past this information onto others.

For those of you who haven't heard of Anosmia, it's the partial or complete loss of your sense of smell. This also has an effect on how you perceive another one of your senses, taste.

We all know we have tastebuds on our tongue that allow us to taste things. But did you know that all the information about the flavour of food doesn't come from our tongue. Our tongue can only distinguish basic information, salty, sweet, sour, or bitter. It's the odour molecules of the food that fill in the blanks and provide more sophisticated information about what we're eating. So if you can't smell your food, it won't taste right.

This makes sense. I remember a particular day I had off from school when I was a child because I was sick. Anything my mum gave me to eat that day just didn't taste right, lunch in particular tasted horrible. Now I understand why.

Anna Barnes has lived with anosmia since she was mugged and hit on the head in 2011. She talks about how it happened, her experiences with the condition, and how her favourite food became her most hated food when it no longer tasted right. You can listen to her experience here - Living in a world without smell

At first thought this may not seem as much of a big deal as losing one of your other senses. After all it's not the same as losing your sight or hearing, right? Give it some thought though. Think about all the issues that could arise from not being able to smell or taste something.

How many times have you turned to someone and asked, do you smell something burning? You may have just thought, but it would be ok I'd see the smoke. That's true, but by the time you see the smoke the fire is well and truly underway. At the very least the fire has damaged or destroyed what it was burning, and at worst it is spreading and becoming too big to try and contain yourself.

What about the food you had in the fridge or the cupboard, does it smell or taste off to you? Something can be rotten but show no visible signs. So if you can't tell if something is safe to eat or drink you, you're more likely to get food poisoning.

Without our sense of smell we have no early warning system to help us detect when things are wrong in our environment.


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