coronavirus

Post-COVID-19 Side Effect Alters Sense of Taste and Smell

Parosmia is a term used to describe health conditions that distort your sense of smell and is now reported as a post-COVID-19 side effect.

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Doctors know now that loss of taste and smell is a common side effect of COVID-19, but about 10% of people who recover those senses deal with another problem.

Parosmia is a term used to describe health conditions that distort a person's sense of smell and is now reported as a post-COVID-19 side effect.

Parosmia is when things taste or smell entirely different than they used to -- and not in a good way.

"Like rotten food in a refrigerator or a dirty trashcan or poop. It can smell like something really unpleasant," Dallas County Medical Society President Dr. Beth-Kassaoff Piper said.

In one Facebook parosmia support group with more than 16,000 members, people describe their experiences with parosmia.

One member wrote that gasoline smells the same as dinner.

Another said certain foods taste like dirty dishwater and another wrote that every product in her bathroom smelled like mold.

Parosmia usually occurs after the olfactory senses have been damaged due to a virus or other health condition.

It can occur weeks or months after the initial viral infection.

Some believe retraining techniques can help but it usually goes away with time.

Still, it can have a profound effect on people's mental and emotional wellbeing.

"These olfactory symptoms really can have a huge social and emotional impact. There is a lot of anxiety or depression, so it's yet another reason to protect yourself against COVID-19 as much as possible," Kassanoff-Piper said.

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