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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Phantom smell

02/22/2010

Question:

For about three weeks I have been smelling somethng burning. It is almost like a fire place smell - that of wood burning. Sometimes it is very strong and can last for hours. There is no set time or location for this to happen it just happens at least once every day.

Answer:

A "phantom" odor such as this usually occurs when you've lost some of your sense of smell, most often in association with a viral infection.  I would consult an ENT physician, preferably one who can measure your sense of smell.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati