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Woman Who Lost Senses To Covid Says Food Now Smells Rotten

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Woman Who Lost Senses To Covid Says Food Now Smells Rotten

A mum-of-two says Covid-19 has scrambled her senses so much that nearly all food 'smells rotten', and that she's lost weight as she's unable to bring herself to eat some of her favourite meals.

Sarah Govier, 44, caught the virus back in May, and like many others lost her sense of smell.

Months later it came back, but she was struck by a bizarre new symptom - finding that her smell and taste was completely distorted.

Now she says coffee smells like car fumes or cigarette smoke, toothpaste tastes like petrol, and chocolate is now simply too disgusting to stomach.

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Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

Sarah, an occupational therapist from Whitstable, Kent, said: "Coffee tasted horrible and cleaning my teeth with toothpaste felt like brushing them with petrol - it was vile!

"At first, everything smelt basically the same, so coffee smelt the same as if someone was smoking or like car fumes.

"Garlic and onions smelt awful - I can't even describe it, and because they're in basically every recipe or ready meal it made cooking very challenging!

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"If I went into someone's house and they were cooking I would smell a mixture of wet dog and rancid water - everything just stank like mould!

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"I even had to spit out chocolate!"

The medical name given to symptoms like Sarah's is parosmia, with doctors saying they have found people with Covid-19 lose their sense of smell because the virus damages the receptor nerve endings or supporting cells within their nose.

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When the receptors are impaired or heal incorrectly, it can lead to parosmia.

Sarah said colleagues at William Harvey Hospital tested positive in April, but she didn't show any of the well-known symptoms such as a cough or high temperature.

However, one day she came home exhausted and developed a sore throat, staying off work and booking a test on 2 May - later losing her sense of taste and smell.

After receiving a positive test result, her senses didn't return for several weeks.

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But when they did come back, after six weeks or so she noticed a problem - realising everything tasted very salty, and that meat had a strange 'floral' scent.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

While Sarah is still able to eat, cheese, fish, potatoes, pasta, rice and porridge, she is worried she'll get bored, and has started eating meal replacement milkshakes for 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."

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Sarah is now also hypersensitive to the smell of sweat and urine, which seem stronger than ever.

She said: "I can also smell sweat really strongly in situations where you wouldn't normally notice, like just when I get a bit hot from walking the kids to school.

"A small bit of perspiration in my clothes smells like rotten cabbage, and when you can smell yourself all the time you get really paranoid."

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

After posting her symptoms on a Covid support group and realising she wasn't alone, Sarah set up her own Facebook community called 'Covid Anosmia/Parosmia Support Group', which now has more than 4,000 members from all over the world.

Sarah added: "It can feel quite lonely as it really affects you pretty much all day every day.

"So many celebrations and social events revolve around eating or going out to a restaurant, so right now there's part of me that's grateful for the restrictions stopping all that!"

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Food, UK News, News, Coronavirus

Jess Hardiman
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