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taste/smell had been impaired by bleach exposure

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Hi Doctor,

Two days ago, I used undiluted thick bleach (chlorine) to clean my bathroom. It is a small area, lacking ventilation. It took me a bit more than 1 hour to finish, during which I was exposed to this chemical. Soon after that, I noticed that my taste/smell had been impaired and it hasn't recovered yet. I am scared that I have damaged the sensory epithelium and I am worried if I will ever get my full senses back again. Could you please help me? Is this serious? Is there something I can do?
Any information would be much appreciated! I'm 25, healthy and never had this kind of issues before.

Kind regards,


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replied March 24th, 2015
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A51561
Welcome to e health forum.

It is likely that inhalation of bleach fumes might have irritated your nose (which contains the olfactory sensors) and this has affected your ability to smell.

Your perception of change in your taste could be related to the smell defect. It is unlikely that bleach fumes can damage the Taste buds in your mouth.

This is likely to be temporary and will resolve within a few days time. Just relax and wait it out for a few days and your senses should normalize soon.

In future, if you have similar issues, use a face and nasal mask while you clean your toilet. Use of saline drops to clean your nasal cavity might also help.

I hope this helps.

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