Fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and dry cough are some of the most common symptoms associated with COVID-19. And while those can also be associated with other types of illnesses, including the common cold, flu, or even allergies, there is one peculiar sign of the virus identified by a great number of those infected: loss of sense of taste, or ageusia.
Ageusia is the loss of taste functions of the tongue, particularly the inability to detect five different types of taste—sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and umami—according to the National Institutes of Health. If you think you might have COVID-19 and want to test your sense of taste, here are 10 foods that can help you do so—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
You should be able to taste anything sweet or sugary. An easy way to test your tastebuds is by biting into a piece of fruit, such as an apple, banana, or orange, which has natural sugars.
Candy is a guilty pleasure as it seriously stimulates your tastebuds. If you bite into a Red Vine or chocolate bar and aren’t met with the usual pleasure they incite, it could signify your taste buds aren’t working right.
Lemon or Lime
Some people love sour foods and others do not. But if you drink a little lemon or lime juice and feel indifferent, then there is a good chance that something isn’t right.
Biting into a pickle often provokes a sour response. If that cucumber marinated in vinegar isn’t doing it for you, then you may be suffering from a loss of taste.
Salt and Vinegar Chips
Salt and vinegar chips are a great way to test your tastebuds. Why? Not only are they sour, which we already established as one of the five types of taste, but they are also salty.
The majority of us have a shaker of salt sitting in their kitchen. If you sprinkle a little onto your finger, lick it, and again, taste absolutely nothing, and this is new for you, you might want to consider getting a coronavirus test.
Brussels sprouts are one of the most bitter veggies on the planet—which is why so many children turn their noses up at them. They are also a good coronavirus taste test food, as “bitter” is one of the five senses.
Umami is the last taste type, and a bit more unusual than the others. Think about this one as incredibly savory, a little meaty, and broth-like. Soy sauce, a common condiment in most of our kitchens, is an easy taste test for this category.
Another “umami” food? Stinky cheese. If you can’t taste your pungent-smelling block of dairy, then you could be suffering from a loss of your senses.
Other Causes of Taste Disorders
Keep in mind that over 200,000 people visit a doctor each year for problems with their ability to taste or smell, per the NIH. So, if you can’t taste your food it doesn’t necessarily mean you are infected with COVID. Taste disorders can also be caused by upper respiratory and middle ear infections, exposure to certain chemicals, head injury, poor oral hygiene or dental issues, or as a result of surgery or radiation therapy. If you think you may have coronavirus, however, contact a medical professional immediately.
How to Avoid COVID-19
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 37 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.