Saturday, May 21

Coronavirus. Parosmia: what is this new symptom that makes food smell and taste foul?

After anosmia – the loss of smell – here comes parosmia, the distortion of smells and tastes. According to smell specialists from the University of East Anglia (UEA, England) and the Fifth Sense association, it may be a disorder caused by Covid-19, reports the Bloomberg news agency.

According to Professor Carl Philpott, of UEA’s Norwich Medical School, “parosmia is thought to be due to the fact that there are fewer olfactory receptors and they can pick up only part of the components of a mixture of odors. “It would generally intervene after an anosmia caused by the Covid. “It’s all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order,” notes the researcher in the study.

Interviewed by Brut America, researcher Federica Genovese of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia in the United States, confirms, adding that when the virus attacks the cells of smell, neurons are destroyed. When they are recreated, some may “reconnect in the wrong place”, causing parosmia. But fortunately they die again and “you have the opportunity to reconnect them correctly on the second try”.

A taste of rotten eggs or gasoline, nutrition problems for children

These distortions of smell and taste could make chocolate taste like gasoline, peaches smell like basil, or any food taste like rotten eggs. This is what happened to Malisse Kafi, an 11-year-old child, cited by the experts in their study, who had the coronavirus in September. “He said the food tasted like poo and sewage and the water tasted like rotten eggs,” his mother said. “He just stopped eating, the food made him nauseous and vomiting. »

A real problem that led the child to the hospital after dehydration and a loss of two kilos. According to scientists, while 250,000 adults in the UK have already suffered parosmia as a result of infection, children in particular would find it difficult to eat foods they used to like. “In many cases, the disease prevents children from eating, and many of them have difficulty eating,” warns Dr. Philpott who hopes that this study will allow a better account of the loss of appetite. by professionals as something serious and not as a mere whim.

Pinching your nose, finding triggers and training your sense of smell

With the association Fifth sense, they have therefore designed a guide for parents to help them understand the triggers (sometimes it’s the cooking of the meat, the smell of coffee…) to find foods with a more bearable and sweet smell.

They also advise in some cases to provide protein shakes to children so that they still have sufficient nutritional intake without the taste, and to hold their noses while eating. This is the technique used by an American interviewed by Brut America, forced into this stratagem for several weeks, while another avoids various products, oil, diesel, hamburgers, bacon or lemons, the smell of which she can no longer bear.

Finally, scientists at the University of East Anglia advise children and adults alike to carry out olfactory training by breathing in strong odors every day for several months, such as “eucalyptus, lemon, rose, cinnamon, chocolate, coffee or lavender” – and obviously avoiding the unpleasant ones.

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