Some COVID-19 survivors claim the virus has wreaked havoc on their sense of scent –leaving them smelling “disgusting” odors such as fish and burnt toast.
Dr. Nirmal Kumar, who is an ear, nose and throat surgeon in the UK, said the “very strange” phenomenon among recovered virus patients is known as parosmia, Sky News reported.
“This morning I saw two patients with parosmia. One said they could smell fish in place of any other scent, and the other can smell burning when there is no smoke around,” Kumar said.
Kumar said he’s observed strange symptom has an “increased incidence in young people and also in healthcare workers because of exposure to the virus in hospitals.”
“”he virus is affecting the nerves in the roof of the nose – it’s like a shock to your nervous system, and the nerves aren’t functioning,” he said.
Daniel Saveski, a 24-year-old banker from London, said he began experiencing the peculiar symptom after losing his sense of smell and taste while battling the virus.
He said that strong-smelling things such as trash bins now reek of sulfur or “like toast.”
“It’s lessened my enjoyment of food, and it’s a bit depressing not being able to smell certain foods,” he said.
Lynn Corbett, who works for a real estate agent in Sussex, England, said that she had also lost her sense of smell during her battle with the virus.
When it returned three months later, “nothing smelled like it should,” she said.
“Most things smelled disgusting, this sickly sweet smell which is hard to describe as I’ve never come across it before,” the 52-year-old said.
She said though she’d previously been a coffee addict, she now finds the smell “unbearable.”
Gas and beer also have intolerable stenchs, she said.
But she said even if her sense of smell doesn’t return, she’s just grateful that she survived the virus.
“I’m okay with it, I just think myself lucky that if I did have coronavirus, which it looks like I did, then I haven’t been seriously ill, hospitalized or died from it like so many others,” she said.