Doctors say COVID-19 can affect smell, taste even after virus passes

ATLANTA — If you’ve done some homework on COVID-19, you’re probably aware doctors say one big symptom of getting the virus is a profound loss of taste and smell.

You might be surprised the changes to those senses continue even after you recover, rendering some things we take for granted registering as something completely different when you encounter them.

There are people who say after contracting the virus, chocolate tastes like rubber or coffee tastes like gasoline.

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Channel 2 Anchor Jovita Moore spoke with Dr. Jermaine Jackson of Piedmont-Atlanta hospital about what some of those symptoms mean. Johnson says the symptoms may create some danger if the person experiencing them isn’t aware of them.

“Yeah, this is one of the strange side effects that we see after post-Covid infection. In fact, it’s actually very common approximately 60 to 80% of patients will actually have a loss of taste and smell. Loss of smell is one of those phenomenon that occurred, not so much because of damage to the actual smell nerves, but to the supporting cells. And if you recall it smell and taste that gives us our sense of flavor. So that’s ultimately why people also have this sense of loss of taste,” Jackson said.


Dr. Jackson says the symptoms could be different for each individual with many experiencing almost the reverse of what should be normal.

“It’s very interesting because a lot of people will have unusual smells that do come when this occurs, as you mentioned, so people have taste that could occur like chocolate, no longer tastes like chocolate but it tastes like rubber. Other people will smell things like roses, or mint, that no longer smells like roses but smells like gasoline,” Jackson said.

“The exact reason as to why that occur, we’re not sure, but the good news is, is that somewhere near approximately about 80% of patients will eventually get their sense of smell back. However, the concern that we have is that when they lose this smell, not only can impact their quality of life and inability to have a good dinner, but some of the strange, or threatening things like the inability to smell leaking gas in your home or fire or smoke,” Jackson added.

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