Covid anosmia - lack of smell / taste

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  • What are people’s experiences with this?

    Mine began four days after testing positive and was pretty much absolute and is unchanged after seven days.

    Impossible to know if or when things change and everyone is different, but it’s getting me down.

    Firstly, covid took away my ability to spend time cycling almost immediately and completely due to the changes in routine.

    I was putting in 8/9 hours a week and building FTP off of about two years of work. Now I just don’t ride at all.

    Food and drink (in moderation) along with music had become my release/hobby, and now that is severely compromised.

    Secondly, I just find it generally harrowing that there are severe neurological affects of the virus. It’s not like I’m congested or anything, it’s evidently interfering with pathways in the brain. I also feel that my hearing has been impacted - feels generally muffled.

    It’s not possible to gauge what will happen as everyone experiences it differently. My wife at least says it started to come back after around 10 days, but I hear of others saying months.

    I actually would be happy to smell shit right now.

  • My wife's isn't right still, she got it in July, she's also been fucked up since getting a cold a few months ago so stay safe and avoid everyone, flu jab probably a good idea too.

  • Also, hope you recover much better.

  • Got the flu jab. We’re all (wife and four year old) max jabbed for covid and flu. Getting the booster asap - would be getting it right now but believe I now need to wait 28 days after having a positive PCR.

    Take your point on avoiding - unicron going to make a lot of these things fairly irrelevant by the sounds of things.

  • Cheers. As much as I don’t feel right, I don’t feel in need of medical attention and I’m very grateful for that.

  • Fingers crossed you're just taking a bit longer than usual but not long term fucked.

  • Same mate, lost my smell and taste on the 24th, wake up each morning hoping to smell the coffee but nothing, back at work today!

  • Might be a good book idea for the gastronomically inclined: home cooking for anosmics. 🤔

    E.g., Ben & Jerrys famous texturised ice creams came about because one of the founders is anosmic and loved ice cream. Foods focusing on textures, temperatures, mouthfeel, basic tastes…

  • My anosmia was profound, starting after my other symptoms had largely abated. For me it lasted about a week. First smell to come back was brewing coffee. It was great to smell again. I hope you get to enjoy that soon.

  • Mine was gone for around 10 days. You need to provoke it back apparently

    Start taking big sniffs of your favorite malt vinegar a couple times a day, repeat with mustard, etc etc until you're back on track.

  • Im not sure if it counts, rather than losing my sense of taste or smell i would say its tainted, I noticed it after the 1st AZ vaccine and it had almost cleared and then i had the 2nd jab, it came on stronger. I cant even fully describe it, several times a day it gets triggered. As for the smell itself its a little like soil thats freshly rained on and highly triggered by cooking oil - if i pass a fast food joint i actually get a waft of it. I feel a bit crazy to say but as its becoming less frequent again i almost feel like its a direct indicator of my level of viral resistance. This could all be nonsense and it could be its triggered some kind of yeast issue.

  • Day 13 now and pretty much unchanged. I thought I had some slight taste of smoked paprika and red onion yesterday, but couldn't quite tell if I was just imagining it.

    Supposed to be going for a nice dinner and cocktails on Thursday, but don't think I can face forking out for something that may as well be chicken nuggets. I just drank Fosters on Saturday night as there was no point wasting my stock of nice beers, so at least I am saving money!

    I suppose this is linked with appetite. It's not like I would describe myself as having loss of appetite, as I'd ordinarily conflate that with nausea - it's more like I keep forgetting to eat, then suddenly feel woozy and just eat bread and bananas to sort it out.

  • I totally sympathise, I had total loss of smell and taste for atleast 4 weeks (bonus of not being able to smell soiled nappies...) The first things that came back were bitter flavours. I still have some odd flavour and smell sensations some 4 months down the line, eggs, white rice and onions all smell the same, a strange unpleasant smell, but taste OK. Its a strange ride. +1 for focusing everything on texture etc, helps keep some joy in proceedings!

  • My sense of taste was completely gone for 3 weeks, smell for about 6-7 weeks. 4 months on I'm not sure if I have 100% of my sense of smell back, I'd say somewhere between 80-90% bit it is really hard to judge what full sense of smell is at this point, just feels like some of the nuance and depth to smells (and taste to some extent obviously) is missing.

    The thing about coaxing your senses back is true. I was super down when I got covid for similar reasons to yours, I had been building up some good fitness and then that was shot. I exercise mostly so I can stuff my face so when covid hit and everything tasted like cardboard food turned into a chore, so I just ate really bland calorie-dense stuff as quickly as possible to get mealtime over and done with, that didn't do anything other than make me dread eating even more. Try to eat visually appealing food with lots of colour and strong flavours, textures are important too. Give your brain something to work on as you're eating and be mindful when you eat. Might be coincidence or there might be something to it, but it was when I started cooking properly and engaging with the food that I was eating that my taste started to come back. YMMV of course.

  • MMVs a lot. I got the Cov about 14 months ago and fully lost taste and smell for a couple of weeks. Taste came back over a couple of months, and it probably now about 80% of what it was. I eat a lot of spiced/spicy food, maybe that helped.

    Smell, however, has been much, much slower. I reckon it's got back to 50-60% of what it was prior to the virus. tbh, I don't think it's improving anymore. Of all the possible long-term effects of Cov, a reduced ability to smell the dog's farts is probably the best I could've hoped for, so not really complaining.

  • I lost my sense of smell - completely and permanently - some time as a child. I'm not sure when exactly, which is weird looking back on it, but a doctor some time after said it was most likely either a virus or a bang on the head. Kids of course have plenty of both so I'm not sure.

    There are clearly advantages eg. nappies, public toilets, and disadvantages - accidentally burning toast, not being able to smell gas, being paranoid about smelling bad, missing out on pleasurable smells. The worst thing for me is missing out on the emotional elements of smell - not being able to smell your loved ones, or the smell of rain, new and exciting smells on holiday etc etc. But the main thing I'd say is that it's proved to me that the commonly expressed belief that '90% of taste is actually smell' or whatever is bollocks.

    I'm sure there are important elements of the enjoyment of food and drink that are to do with the smell not the taste, which obvs I miss out on, but I can taste just fine, and get a lot of pleasure from food. I'm told I'm a pretty decent cook, too. They are clearly linked, and sometimes people lose both together, but they are not so closely linked that you can't have one without the other.

    Of all the main senses, I am for sure happy that it was smell I lost.

  • I would add, the worst part is when people ask to to smell something (you would never realise quite how often this happens) and you either have to fake smell it and guess what face to make, or go through fifteen minutes of explaining all of the above and answering a tonne of questions. 'No way! Surely you can smell xyz?'

  • I had this in March for the initial lockdown in 2020. Lasted around 2/3 weeks with lingering issues stopping me getting back on the bike for around a month. Still to this day I've had some strange side effects like coughs/colds seem to last a lot longer than they used to and whenever I get a blocked nose, I'll get a constant smell of burning/smoke. A bit odd.

  • 18 days now since it all went and it’s definitely coming back more each day now, for which I am grateful.

    Definitely don’t feel like I’m back in the sensory world, and I have to almost try and smell stuff before I do, but hopefully things continue to improve from here.

    Hope everyone else is getting on ok and thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.

  • My mother in law is the same. She’s not been able to smell anything since I’ve known her and it’s been enlightening to relate to that experience.

    Same as you, she is able to taste and enjoy (most) foods so it hasn’t been a major challenge.

  • Well, three months on since I last posted.

    Smell: I think I can smell everything fairly accurately, but everything is faint. Like I’m on 50%. Need to be very close to source and concentrate. Coffee brewing smells weird and quite unpleasant.

    Taste: I suppose this is quite similar. I generally can taste everything, it’s just all less intense. Some things seem to be more noticeably faint than others. Some things taste totally different and foul. Toothpaste, mouthwash and coke and diet coke.

    Some days are worse than others, but every time I mentally note that a coke tastes something like approaching normal, the next will be as disgusting as it has seemed to be.

    Will see where I am again in a few months time. Will no doubt have had Covid again by then, so that could shape things, although people don’t seem to be having these issues with current strains.

  • Am the same bro, at the moment lots of things are smelling the same dodgy smell and taste has gone wierd again. It's not consistent either so one day coffee smells really bad, the next day it's fine, it's the same with falafel.

  • Ugh. Sucks man.

    Another thing that tastes like crap to me is Asahi beer. Thankfully the Laguinitas IPA I’m following up with tastes as great as ever.

  • This article specifically mentions toothpaste and coffee.­d-out-their-smell-it-came-back-miswired

  • Thanks for this dude, actually thought I was imagining it. Hope it goes away for you soon.

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Covid anosmia - lack of smell / taste

Posted by Avatar for J0nathan @J0nathan