Woman with long haul Covid symptoms says everything tastes like sewage

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(WEHT) – Many people have spoken about their Covid-19 symptoms, including anosmia – the loss of taste or smell. Others say they got it back, but it was all wrong. Lexie Prickel, of Bloomington, had Covid-19 last December and she says out of the blue, most food started to smell and taste like sewage. She said at first, she thought it was just a temporary thing.

“I was kind of like ‘man this is awful,'” said Prickel. “But I was like ‘it’s fine. Hopefully coming up soon it won’t last very long. It’ll come back.’ And every month I thought that. I was like ‘oh it’s only been a month, oh it’s now been two months.’ And now I’m on month 10 or 11 and I’m still dealing with the exact same problems.”

Prickel is experiencing Parosmia – which is where tastes and smells are distorted in a horrible way. Some doctors think there could have been nerve damage as a side effect of Covid-19.

“There’s just so much that’s yet to be determined from an evidence-based medicine standpoint,” said Dr. Mark Royer of Evansville Sinus Center. “With an MRI, we’re actually able to look at the nerve and look at that olfactory neuron area so really to figure out and make sure there’s nothing that can be treated to get a sense for anything else that might be going on.”

Prickel says she is unable to eat meat, eggs, toast, and even chocolate. The list of what she can’t eat goes on.

“I can barely tell you what I can eat because it’s so limited,” she added.

She said she tries to fill up with protein shakes, but she worries about her health. “My body feels as if I’m just kind of shut down. Since I’ve lost weight, I don’t have the motivation. It’s kind of put me in a state of – am I ever going to taste or smell normally again? And that’s kind of a terrifying thing.”

With this Covid-related side effect being so new, treatments aren’t guaranteed. Kelsey Hojara, a nutritionist in Indiana, says she believes the loss of taste or smell could potentially be related to zinc deficiencies.

“If you have this lack of taste and smell you definitely want to look at first your zinc levels,” said Hojara. “I always recommend that they take 15mg of zinc a day with a meal and it can take upwards of 6 months for zinc deficiency or lower zinc levels for those to improve.”

“There’s some people trying what we call smell therapy, which is where you essentially try to retrain and your sense of smell by smelling citrus or eucalyptus,” said Dr. Royer.

Prickel says she has tried these methods, but has not yet seen results.

“It’s really important to not live with this and bear this burden on your own as a patient and seek help sooner rather than later,” Dr. Royer added.

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