Some conditions cause irritation or congestion that affects the mucous membranes inside the nose. Upper respiratory infections are the most common cause of anosmia. Sinus infections, particularly acute sinusitis, can cause excess mucus to form in the sinuses. This can block the openings of the sinuses and lead to anosmia. The common cold and influenza are also common triggers of temporary anosmia. A less common condition that can lead to anosmia is nonallergic rhinitis. The symptoms are similar to hay fever or allergic rhinitis but lack the evidence of an allergic reaction. Nonallergic rhinitis typically features a chronic stuffy or runny nose, which can prevent a person from smelling properly.
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