Does your coffee taste like gasoline? You might have COVID-19

Young boy looking disgusted at plate of vegetables
Photo: pinstock (Getty Images)

If your favorite snack starts to taste like donkey ass, there are two possibilities: you’re snacking on a donkey’s ass, or you have COVID-19. In the case of the latter, you could be suffering from something called parosmia, or the inability to smell the correct odor of food and drinks. It’s a little-known COVID-19 side effect, and it’s different from the loss of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia) that most folks associate with coronavirus.

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According to The Washington Post, COVID-19 patients can develop parosmia after anosmia. That means that long after you’ve recovered from your battle with COVID-19, your nose can “misidentify the smells of different foods and drinks,” making your morning cup of coffee taste like gasoline.

Scientists aren’t sure why parosmia occurs, but it might have something to do with the nose’s damaged neural tissue. Fortunately, parosmia isn’t forever—the Post reports that once your olfactory receptor neurons regrow, your sense of smell and taste should be restored.

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If you’re suffering from parosmia, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to make eating more bearable. The Post reported on something called smell training, which involves sniffing different strong scents a few times a day. You can also apparently plug your nostrils with wet cotton balls during meals, helping to reduce the impact of your damaged olfactory receptors on your sense of taste. Either way, if this symptom doesn’t convince people to stay away from large holiday gatherings, I truly don’t know what will.

Staff writer @ The Takeout. Pork shoulder princess @ Chicago.

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DISCUSSION

Got it mid-June. Over (tested negative) mid-July (yeah - it SUCKED). Still smelled something burning/cigarettes and had mad headaches until the end of September/beginning of October.

I still am easily breathless and fatigued. The smelling smoke constantly was scary. I was afraid it would be permanent. And that would be dangerous.