One of the most common side effects associated with the novel coronavirus is the loss of taste and smell.
By now, most Americans are familiar with the fact that one of the most common side effects associated with the novel coronavirus is the loss of taste and smell. Research shows 86% of people with mild cases suffer from this temporary symptom but for some like Chris Cuomo of CNN, they complain of this symptom for many months. Parosmia is the term used to describe health conditions that distort your perception of certain scents.
Parosmia can cause once pleasant aromas, such as those of a favorite food, a perfume, a bar of soap, or even a cup of coffee, to be perceived as putrid, burnt, or chemical in nature reports the BBC. The good news is that many people who had COVID—and either partially or entirely lost their sense of taste and smell—were able to fully recover both senses within a few weeks. But for those who develop parosmia, their sense of taste and smell may remain altered for up to three years. Which could have severe consequences for them – and the food world. What happens when we shift our eating habits from enjoyment and pleasure to basically eating for sustenance alone? The BBC report points out that not only does parosmia cause certain smells to become unpleasant, but it may also lead to malnutrition, as several people report an inability to tolerate consuming many foods.
A 47-year-old woman from the UK told the BBC that she's unable to eat anything but bread or cheese due to the condition and, in part, hardly has any energy. According to 2012 research, in 60% of parosmia cases that were caused by an infection, the sense of smell was restored in later years – we will just have to see the long term effects of COVID-19 to find out.