Strange unpleasant smell stuck in nose?

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For the last few days I've had an unusual smell stuck in my nose, and I don't know what's causing it. It feels similar to when you inhale perfumes or chemicals and the odour lingers for a while, and it's been more or less permanent since last week. I've heard of smell problems being associated with viruses or sinus infections, but I have absolutely no other symptoms (not even a runny nose) so that seems unlikely as a cause. I did have a minor cold or virus a few months ago which gave me sinus headaches and caused me to lose my sense of smell for a couple of weeks, but it had since come back so I don't know if that's related either.

The smell itself is difficult to describe since I've never smelled anything like it before, but it's sort of musty, sour and slightly chemical-like. It's quite unpleasant as it changes the way a lot of other things smell and taste, so I haven't been enjoying food very much. I thought it was something in my house causing the smell (like a cleaning chemical or burnt/gone-off food), but other people haven't noticed any smells as strong as I have. I have only just moved into this house, and the smell seems to be worse when I'm at home and especially when I'm cooking - when I'm outside it's barely noticeable at all, so I'm not sure what's causing it.

Has anyone else experienced this? How did you get rid of it - did it ever go away? Could it be neurological rather than a sinus problem or an external smell?

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  • Posted

    Hi. I would love an answer to this as well. I lost my sense of smell and taste back in March. I was pretty sure it was Covid related then and later did test positive for antibodies. Anyway, during that time, I kept getting this chemical smell that only I seemed to smell and it felt like it was coming from my nose and followed me everywhere. After I got better the chemical smell left and my senses returned. Now, months later, it is back again, just not as strong. The one common denominator for me is that my acid reflux was acting up then and it calmed down. Now it is acting up again. This time, the chemical smell has more of a burnt odor and also accompanies migraine-like headaches and muscle tensions.

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  • Posted

    I have had something similar and yes, I think it may be related to your cold a few months ago.

    The bad odor inside the nose is usually caused by inflammatory processes such as sinusitis, rhinitis and foreign bodies, and it happens because of the increased production of nasal mucus with subsequent bacterial infection.

    In my case it went away on its own, but I think you should see an ENT specialist.

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