Thursday, December 9, 2021

‘Long Covid’ patients haunted by unbearable smells like parosmia sufferers


Doctors have found some people infected with novel coronavirus lose their sense of smell as sufferers were being haunted by horrible and unbearable smells like the patients of parosmia which damages the scent-detecting nerve.

A 44-year-old ‘long Covid’ patient Sarah Govier from Whitstable – Kent complained about losing her sense of smell, a symptom which is medically known as parosmia, after being infected with the virus in May.

The occupational therapist has described how nearly ‘all food smells rotten’  and she has lost half a stone because she can barely bring herself to eat her favourite meals.


long covid patients sense of smell parosmia symptoms

Govier revealed that how coffee smells like car fumes and toothpaste tastes like petrol after she recovered from the virus.

Ms Govier has likened the taste of meat to floral soap or perfume, toothpaste tastes more like petrol than mint, and coffee has an odour of car fumes or cigarette smoke.

The mother-of-two, who works at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, revealed how garlic and onions remind her of a mix of wet dog and stagnant water while chocolate cake tastes so bad she has to spit it out.

The long Covid victim set up a Facebook support group which enables members to share their experiences, theories and ‘smell training’ tips.


long covid patients sense of smell parosmia symptoms

“I was having to sniff things before I ate them and it felt quite feral, like a weird kind of animal!,” Dailymail UK quoted Govier.

Sufferers of parosmia have even likened their once sweet-smelling perfumes and shampoo to bile as the virus damages the receptor nerve endings or supporting cells within their nose.

Sharing the details of contracting coronavirus, she said her colleagues tested positive in April but she didn’t have the classic symptoms of a cough and high temperature. However one day she came home totally exhausted and developed a sore throat, so stayed off work and booked a test on May 2.

After contracting the virus, she lost her senses of taste and smell despite her husband Jim, 47, and children Jake, 11, and Daniel, eight, didn’t get symptoms.



long covid patients sense of smell parosmia symptoms

She got a positive test result a few days later and lost her senses of taste and smell for five or six weeks. It then returned for around six weeks again, before she noticed a problem.

She posted her symptoms on a Covid-19 support group and discovered that she wasn’t alone.

Ms Govier was then inspired to create her Facebook group called ‘Covid Anosmia/Parosmia Support Group’, which now has more than 4,000 members from all over the world.

She is still able to eat cheese and fish as well as her favourite food of avocados with prawn cocktail but is worried she will get bored.

long covid patients sense of smell parosmia symptoms

Ms Govier can also stomach potatoes, pasta, rice and porridge, but has also started eating meal replacement milkshakes for a bit of variety.

She said: ‘I was 10 stone in August which is the heaviest I had been in a long time, but within a couple of weeks of developing my parosmia I lost half a stone just because I wasn’t eating.’

Some sufferers have tried re-training their brain with ‘smell training’ – putting essential oils on bits of paper and smelling them about twice a day.

Fish and burning toast are among the ‘unbearable’ odours in place of normal smells haunting Long Covid patients as more unusual symptoms of the virus emerge.

The symptom is the inability of the brain to properly identify an odour’s ‘natural’ smell and seems to be affecting young people and healthcare workers in particular.

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