Lost Sense Of Smell After Swimming

by Anthony De Chiara
(Floral Park, NY, United States)

I had a question about my lost sense of smell after swimming for a long time.


I enjoy swimming as much as possible, and for some reason, I seem to enjoy going from a backward lying float into pulling myself underwater while still being face up. Of course, as soon as I do this, my nose fills with water, and slightly stings a bit at first. Is there any danger to doing this quite often when in a pool?

I'm asking because I noticed that whenever I do this, after I come out of the pool it takes several hours for my nose to regain the full sense of smell again. Am I burning out my sense of smell by doing this?


First and foremost you are not burning away your sense of smell. The human sense of smell is controlled by synapsis in the brain, and although it is possible to lose ones sense of smell, once it is lost it usually does not return.

The loss of sense of smell that your are experiencing is most likely due to water entering your nasal cavity and causing a blockage. That blockage is preventing odours entering normally into the nasal passage and therefore not allowing the brain to process them. After time the water and the blockage clears and your sense of smell returns back to normal.

Have you ever tried preventing the water from entering your nose in the first place? Especially as you clearly enjoy submerging from a supine position in the water and it is causing your some discomfort!

Depending how long you spend submerged in this position, at some point you will need to breathe again. Try exhaling through your nose as you resurface. This will expel any water from your nose and potentially reduce or even prevent blockages from occurring.

Failing that, a good old-fashioned nose clip will do the job of preventing water from entering your nose in the first place.

I hope you find this information helpful and I wish you every success with your swimming.

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