Two women who are battling symptoms of long Covid have opened up about how the condition has completely changed their lives – with one revealing that it causes all food to taste like ‘sewage and garbage’ while the other says she can’t shower because the water smells like ‘rotting meat’ to her.
Natalia Cano, 20, from Mendham, New Jersey, caught coronavirus in January 2021 while she was working in a food store, and she said it completely changed her sense of taste and smell.
A few weeks after she recovered, she noticed that things that used to taste good started to taste like ‘garbage and sewage’, ‘gasoline,’ or ‘mold’ – signaling that he had developed a condition called parosmia.
Food became so disgusting to Cano, that she said she developed an eating disorder and would throw up any time she tried to eat.
In Washington D.C., Katrina Haydon, 24, is also struggling with similar symptoms after she contracted Covid in June.
At first, Haydon had anosmia – where a person loses their sense of taste and smell – then later developed parosmia, just like Cano did.
Both women’s lives have been altered due to parosmia, with Cano developing an eating disorder and Haydon saying she now has trouble performing some daily tasks like showering and brushing her teeth.
A 20-year-old who had COVID-19 said it’s left her with a rare condition that makes food taste like ‘garbage and sewage’ – almost a year after she first tested positive for the virus.
Natalia Cano, from New Jersey, caught coronavirus in January 2021 while working in a food store, and it completely changed her sense of taste and smell
A few weeks after she recovered, she noticed that things that used to taste good started to taste like ‘garbage,’ ‘gasoline,’ or ‘mold’ – a condition called parosmia
Cano is still struggling with parosmia more than ten months after recovering from the illness.
She said she is still suffering from the condition, and she doesn’t know if it’s ever going to get better.
She broke down in tears as she opened up about it on TikTok, and the video quickly went viral – gaining millions of views in a matter of days.
The rare condition that warps your sense of taste and smell: What is parosmia and how is it treated?
- Parosmia causes things you encounter every day to seem like they have a strong, disagreeable odor
- In the most severe cases, parosmia can cause you to feel physically ill when your brain detects strong, unpleasant scents
- Parosmia usually occurs after your scent-detecting neurons – also called your olfactory senses – have been damaged due to a virus or other health condition. These neurons line your nose and tell your brain how to interpret the chemical information that makes up a smell
- A May 2021 study found that participants reported that their parosmia lasted anywhere between nine days and six months, however, the average duration of parosmia was 3.4 months
- Researchers are still trying to determine how common parosmia after COVID-19 actually is. A June 2021 survey found that out of the 1,299 survey respondents, 140 of them (10.8 percent) reported having parosmia after COVID-19
- The five most common types of foods that triggered parosmia are chicken and meat, onions, eggs, garlic, and rice
- Source: Healthline
‘I don’t think anyone understands how much this affects your daily life. It’s not just that foods taste wrong, I mean, it is that, but it’s garbage dude, it’s sewage,’ she said in the video.
‘It’s gasoline. It’s ammonia. It’s bitter. It’s mold. Imagine if all of your favorite foods tasted like your least favorite foods. It is a step further. It is garbage and sewage.
‘Imagine the worst smell that you have ever smelled in your life, and it’s that but everything. It’s everything.’
In the clip, Natalia read from a Healthline article about the condition, which said 50 percent of the people who were suffering from parosmia said it improved within three months.
‘[It can last] anywhere between nine days and six months. I am on month 10,’ she said.
According to the website, ‘Parosmia causes things you encounter every day to seem like they have a strong, disagreeable odor.
‘People who have it can detect an odor that’s present – but the scent smells “wrong” to them. For example, the pleasant odor of freshly baked bread might smell overpowering and rotten instead of subtle and sweet.’
Natalia said in the video that she went to many doctors and had lots of tests done, but hasn’t found a solution.
‘It was affecting me so much that I developed gastritis, where every single meal I was throwing up, I couldn’t get anything down for a very long time,’ she continued.
‘Now I can, sure, but I have a severe ED because it’s not that everything tastes bad, it tastes like sewage.
‘It’s been 10 months and [one] doctor told me that if it didn’t improve within a year, there’s a chance that I won’t ever get it back. I have two months left, and it’s not going away.
‘Out of survey responders, 10 percent of people who had COVID reported having this. There is no research, there is no cure. There’s just hoping. I’m gagging at every meal.’
This is a common trend among many people who suffer from ‘long Covid’, a condition where people still suffer from symptoms of the virus for months after recovery.
The condition has perplexed experts, and many can not exactly determine how, or why, it appears.
Dr Noah Greenspan, a pulmonary care specialist who operates a long Covid clinic in New York City, told DailyMail.com in June that the condition is usually found in young, healthy, women who suffer mild cases of Covid.
He said that anywhere between one-third to two-thirds of people who survive the virus will develop the condition.
In the most serious cases, some have reported severe psychological and neurological issues forming as a result of long Covid.
Because the condition has wide ranging symptoms and no one can pin point the exact cause of it, there are not many effective treatments either.
Katrina Haydon (pictured), 24, from Washington D.C., says she has trouble performing simple tasks like brushing her teeth and showering due to the parosmia she has suffered as a result of long Covid
Some experts believe it is a continued immune response to the virus, and a person’s immune system may still be reacting to a virus that is no longer there – causing symptoms.
A research team from California published findings last month that found the Covid could infect a person’s neurons – cells the immune system will not attack – and the lingering effects of that could cause many of the symptoms associated with the cognitive issues.
Dr Sam Pleasure, a neurology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, told DailyMail.com in October that he believes these symptoms could be tied to brain inflammation caused by Covid.
Pleasure’s team has investigated more serious psychiatric cases of long Covid, like teens suffering from delusions, severe anxiety and attention issues so severe it affected their ability to complete school work.
Covid can cause inflammation all across the body, and certain parts of the brain becoming inflamed can cause neurological issues like anosmia, parosmia, brain fog and more.
Food became so disgusting to Natalia, that she said she developed an eating disorder and would throw up any time she tried to eat
She said protein bars are ‘sometimes the only things she can get down.’ She also explained that a few foods still taste normal, like Arizona ice tea, Chai tea lattes, Dr. Pepper, and candy
In another video, Natalia gave viewers an insight on different foods and what they tasted like to her. She said she tries to eat two protein bars a day because ‘sometimes it’s the only things she can get down.’
‘It’s not a lot of bites but it’s a lot of protein so I force myself to eat it,’ she said.
She explained that a few random foods still taste normal, like Arizona ice tea, Chai tea lattes, pulled pork sandwiches, strawberry yogurt, most dairy, Dr. Pepper, and candy.
‘In general things that are sweet taste less horrible to me, still not fantastic but I’m not actively gagging,’ she explained.
‘Nothing makes sense, it’s completely arbitrary. There’s literally no rules.’
She described toothpaste as bitter and sour, and said even water tasted bad.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Natalia explained that she actually developed parosmia a few weeks after she had already recovered from COVID. And she wasn’t the only one.
Lots of people flooded the comment section of her video to share their own experiences, and she discovered that so many others were dealing with the same thing.
More than 10-months after she had COVID-19, she said she is still suffering from the condition, and she doesn’t know if it’s ever going to get better
She told Buzzfeed that she will be undergoing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which is a noninvasive therapy that has been shown to help people with parosmia
People who undergo the therapy report recovering 80 percent of their taste, according to Buzzfeed
‘It was a really common theme that we had developed really intense symptoms of parosmia a month or two months after we had initially gotten COVID,’ she told the outlet.
‘I had no idea that [parosmia] was an after-COVID symptom until I got it.’
She told the magazine that she will be speaking with her doctor about undergoing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the next few weeks, which is normally a noninvasive therapy used to treat depression but has been shown to really help people with parosmia.
People who undergo the therapy report recovering 80 percent of their taste, according to Buzzfeed.
She concluded in one final video: ‘[My original video] ended up doing tremendously well. I not only created but found a community of people that had my exact same experiences.’
Haydon told Fox News that her symptoms of parosmia developed in September, and have remained ever since.
Months later, she says that some foods taste and smell terrible for her – and even some basic daily tasks such as showering and brushing her teeth can be a problem.
‘I used to take a shower more than twice a day regularly, but at least twice a day, and it has been really, really hard for me to make myself shower once a day. It’s so difficult,’ she told Fox News.
Haydon (pictured) said that she struggles with the smell of heat, and that the taste of toothpaste causes a ‘physical reaction’ in her. She also has trouble eating dairy products or sweets due to how they taste
Haydon said she has trouble dealing with the smell of heat, making showers – and other hot things – hard to deal with.
‘And same thing with brushing my teeth,’ she said.
‘It’s really, really hard because even non-mint toothpastes cause a physical reaction because they just taste and smell so bad.’
Some foods also have an unbearable smell for the woman.
‘Savory foods smell like rotting sewage. Hot water smells like rotting meat,’ Haydon told Fox News.
She also said that some sweets or daily products taste as if she sprayed perfume into her mouth.