Is My Loss Of Smell Due To COVID-19 A Potential Life Threatening Hazard? Yes, And You May Have A Viable NJ Workers Compensation Case

Lost Sense of Smell and COVID
COVID-19 COD is the medical term, based on the diagnosis of “olfactory dysfunction” (OD), which has afflicted so many “Long Haulers” who suffer significant loss of smell associated with this virus infection. Thanks to a new research letter published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery on November 18, 2021, we now have a better understanding of the number of patients whose sense of smell does not return after infection with Covid-19.     

A lost sense of smell was one of the first known symptoms of COVID-19. Since the pandemic first began, many people have talked about the frustration of losing their ability to smell after contracting the virus. While not everyone who has had COVID develops this symptom, plenty do, and the loss of smell can linger for well after someone has recovered from the virus itself.

It is estimated that somewhere between 700,000 to 1.6 million people in the U.S. who had COVID-19 had a loss of smell—or a change in their sense of smell—that lasted for more than six months. Significantly, this has created an “emerging and growing public health concern.”    Clearly, even a minor loss of smell (also known as Olfactory Dysfunction) can be a life-altering issue.  Not only does smell enhance the taste of virtually all food, but people with COVID also lose their ability to recognize foul and dangerous odors and rancid food.

“Eric Holbrook, MD, an anosmia researcher and director of rhinology at Mass Eye and Ear, also says that it’s a ‘known potential hazard’ to have smell loss, pointing out that people with COD aren’t able to smell smoke from a fire or a natural gas leak.”

Clearly, there are many occupations that involve odor detection. A good example would be fire and smoke detection by first responders. Natural gas explosions are preventable because of the addition of a chemical, mercaptan, which provides a distinctive odor. The food industry also provides many examples of jobs that are dependent on a keen sense of smell.

If your job has exposed you to Corona 19 or a variant and if your sense of smell has been impaired, you may have a viable Worker’s Compensation case. If so, please call Taenzer & Ettenson, P.C. for a free consultation at 856-235-1234 and see if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. Or click here to use our contact form. 


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