Many people across the world are reporting a new symptom they experience after recovering from COVID-19 — “parosmia,” or a condition that distorts your smell.
What’s going on?
People across the country and the world are reporting changes to their sense of smell after a COVID-19 diagnosis, according to BBC News. This is different than the loss of sense of smell and taste, which is a pretty common COVID-19 symptom.
- “She could smell a little bit, but things didn’t smell like she thought they should. She was basically saying things smelled like rotten food, like something that had been sitting in the fridge,” Meskunas said, per WNCT.
What is parosmia?
Parosmia is a condition where you have strange and unpleasant smell changes. So instead of smelling an orange or lime, you may smell rotten vegetables. Or chocolate might smell like gasoline, according to WebMD.
Why does it impact COVID-19 patients?
Researcher Carl Philpott, from the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, said changes to your smell and taste are common with COVID-19 (the loss of taste and smell has been long documented). So it makes sense something like parosmia would happen, according to WebMD.
- “Some degree of smell loss is thought to affect up to one-quarter of the general population,” he said. “Smell loss is also a prominent symptom of COVID-19, and we know that the pandemic is leaving many people with long-term smell loss, or smell distortions such as parosmia.”
How to fix it
Philpott said people should practice “smell training” to fix the issue, according to WebMD. This includes smelling at least four different items twice a day for a few months, which will hopefully get your sense of smell back on track.
- “It aims to help recovery based on neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to reorganize itself to compensate for a change or injury,” he said, per WebMD.