Loss of taste & smell due to a cold

Updated April 17, 2017

The common cold reduces your senses of taste and smell by blocking nasal passages. These senses return when the cold passes.


Blocked nasal passages are a major symptom of the common cold. Aromas are unable to reach smell receptors in the naval cavity that send signals to the brain regarding smell.


Taste and smell go hand in hand. Together they make up what is perceived as flavour. If one sense is impaired, so is the other.

Time frame

Taste and smell is reduced within 2 to 5 days of cold infection. This reaches its peak within 2 to 3 days and should resolve in 7 to 10 days.


Since there is no cure for the common cold, you will have to wait til it clears for your senses of taste and smell to return. Inhaling steam may help clear up obstructions in your nasal passages.


Your senses of taste and smell should return within a few days after a cold has cleared up. If it doesn't, you should see a doctor.

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About the Author

James Gilmore has written professionally since 2005. Since then, he has written and proofread obituaries for "The Press & Sun-Bulletin" in Binghamton, N.Y., press releases for "Goals, Seminars and Consultants" and articles for Made Man and various other websites. He writes a good deal of music-related content and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ithaca College.