While no two cases are the same, there are a few symptoms that are ubiquitous among many individuals who have contracted the coronavirus. Some patients who reported losing their sense of taste and smell while fighting COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, claim that food suddenly tasted like paper or cardboard.
For some individuals, losing the ability to taste isn’t always indicative of not being able to taste anything at all. There have been instances in which patients have reported generally flavorful foods suddenly tasting bland. Others have even claimed that certain dishes taste altogether different. And, in some cases, patients said this symptom persisting for months. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time)
There are also patients who have noticed even more drastic changes in their sense of taste and smell. For example, Katie McHenry previously opened up about her experience developing parosmia—a condition characterized as a lingering, foul-smelling scent and altered sense of taste after battling with coronavirus—to The BBC.
“I love nice meals, going out to restaurants, having a drink with friends—but now all that has gone,” McHenry said. “Meat tastes like petrol, and prosecco tastes like rotting apples. If my partner, Craig, has a curry, the smell is awful. It even comes out of his pores, so I struggle to go anywhere near him.” (Related: Genius Ways to Retrain Your Taste Buds to Love Healthy Food)
While coronavirus patients don’t typically claim that food tastes like gasoline, there are some who have reported food tasting like cardboard and paper.
“Everything that had really strong flavors, I couldn’t taste,” Horcel Kamaha, who contracted the coronavirus in March, told The BBC. “I was mostly eating Jamaican food, and I couldn’t taste it at all. Everything tasted like paper or cardboard.”
Of course, a lot remains uncertain about COVID-19, and it’s important to remember that this symptom has not been prevalent in all patients who have either had or are currently ill with the disease.
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