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D. The Hazards of Losing Sense of Smell

Narrator: This is Science Today. About two percent of the American population have lost their sense of smell from trauma, an aggressive flu or dementia. Once the loss of smell is gone, Dr. Terence Davidson, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the University of California, San Diego says there are many safety hazards to address.

Davidson: You can't smell smoke, an early warning sign of fire, so you need smoke detectors anyplace you have a fire...kitchen, den and anyplace you sleep, so you need one by your bed so that if there's a fire, you get woken up. If you have a gas stove, you either get rid of it or you get a gas detector.

Narrator: Davidson says since sense of smell is related to the ability to taste, people who can no longer smell have to be careful about spoiled food.

Davidson: You have to develop a very aggressive discard program. You cook a little less. You don't keep the leftovers and if someone appropriate is available, you always let someone else taste the food. If they die, don't eat it!

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.