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Pediatrics/Smell Issues



My name is Shane Carman.  I am eighteen and attend college in Florida.  In my entire life, I do not believe I have been able to smell.  When other people say they smell something, I just feel air in my nose.  Most food tastes the same for me, either sweet, salty, or sour.  I have never really had friends in my life, although I am very active in my community. I never seem to form relationships with people on a personal level.  I did have meningitis when I was 13 days old and have heard this can cause a loss of smell.  I was also diagnosed with Hyper Sensitive Hearing and tourettes syndrome when I was about 7.  I believe these two conditions have had a significant impact on my life but have never really explored the impact of not being able to smell.  Is there a way to truly test if I can smell and if I cannot, a way so I can smell?  I feel like this could be the reason behind many issues in my life.

Thank you!


Hi Shane,

There is no "lab test" available routinely to quantify objectively how strong or weak is your sense of smell. The only way that we doctors test the ability to smell is to place some strong odours near a nostril, while keeping the other nostril and both eyes closed. The other nostril is then tested in similar fashion.

Meningitis can RARELY affect the sense of smell, in case the olfactory nerves (nerves that carry sens of small) or area in the brain that is involved with "interpretation" of the smell is damaged because of the infection.

I don't think that "Hyper Sensitive Hearing and tourettes" syndrome have much to do about the ability to smell.

I must tell you frankly that inability of smell  per se doesn't affect quality of life in a big way. However, your being "too conscious" about your inability to smell: i.e., your insecurities related to the whole issue CAN affect quality of life in a bigger way.

Try to work on that, try to live "bindaas" (Indian term for being carefree) to have a wonderful life ahead!!

Best wishes,
Dr. Puneet Kumar,
Kumar Child Clinic, Dwarka,
New Delhi, India



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Dr. Puneet Kumar


I would be happy to answer general queries on prevention and treatment of ailments in newborn, infant, toddler, child or an adolescent. Needless to say, it will not be possible to answer any query that requires diagnosing, since it is not possible to examine a child online.


I have worked in various capacities (medical officer, resident, senior resident, consultant) in public as well as private sector in Pediatrics and Neonatology. Today, I have over 17 years of experience in the field.

Currently, I am running my own clinic (Kumar Child Clinic) in Dwarka, New Delhi and am attached to Lifeline Hospital, Dwarka as consultant pediatrics and neonatology. I am also developing my clinic website into a comprehensive child health/ parenting website (

(a) Chapter "National Immunization Schedule" in Frontiers of Social Pediatrics, Jaypee Publishers: 2nd edition, 2016. (b) Article, "All about Pertussis vaccines" in special issue of Indian Journal of Practical Pediatrics, July-Sept 2015 (c) Three chapters (DTP vaccines, Pneumococcal vaccines and Poliovirus vaccines) in "Textbook of Pediatrics for Post-graduates" First edition: 2015. (c) Chapter: "Alternative delivery methods of vaccines" in IAP textbook of Vaccines, First edition, 2014 (published by IAP/ Jaypee Brothers) (d) Special Article: "50 years of Immunization in India: Progress and Future" in January 2013 issue of Indian Pediatrics (e) Four chapters in "FAQ: Book on Vaccines and Immunization Practices" First edition, 2011 AND 2nd edition, 2015 published by Jaypee Brothers. (f) Three articles in special issue of Journal of Pediatric Sciences on “Controversies and Challenges in Pediatric Vaccination Today" in Sept, 2010. Co-edited the series also. (f) Regular column, “How do I treat” in Pediascene ( (g) Review article, “Role of Anti-Poliovirus Agents in Polio eradication and beyond” in Polio Pulse, April, 2008. (h) Chapter on “Acute Infectious Diarrhea” in Textbook of Infectious Diseases in Children. (An IAP Publication), 2007. 2nd edition in 2011. (i) Book-Review (IAP Pediatric Drug Formulary, 2004) in Pediascene, March 2005 ( ) (j) Case-report on Osteopetrosis. Jharkhand Journal of Pediatrics, Dec-2002.

After MBBS, I have done DNB residency in Pediatrics.

Awards and Honors
Winner of IAP practising pediatrician's quiz in 2001.

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