“Whether Covid-induced or not, impairment of sense of smell or taste affects 5 to 15 % of the population”, explains Laurence Gény, vice-director for education at the Institute of Vine & Wine Sciences (ISVV). “We have been working on the issue for years in conjunction with teams of French and overseas researchers”. Being ahead of the curve was extremely useful for lecturers after the summer recess. “When five students recovering from coronavirus were worried about not regaining their taste and sense of smell, lecturers immediately knew how to provide them with support”, continues Gény.
After sending them to an ENT doctor, they gave them a rehabilitation kit comprising portable diffusers or ‘sniffin sticks’ emitting several groups of essential oils, such as orange or peppermint. “The students have to smell them for several minutes a day and report their perception of the smells in an accompanying booklet. We vary the smells according to their progress. We also ask them to imagine the smells because studies have shown that simple mental imagery can speed up recovery of sense of smell”.
Since January 11, all victims of hyposmia or anosmia can benefit from the ISVV's experience free of charge. “Our protocol can be very useful to winemakers, but also to perfumers or even restaurateurs. It is now online on our website. Industry members can also send us questions at isvv-C19@u-bordeaux.fr " says Gény
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