Would you rather completely lose your smell and taste, or have them distorted so that almost everything tastes/ smells like rotting meat and chemicals?

For someone with parosmia, the answer is easy... the first of course. The latter is parosmia, the daily reality for many people, including myself. An estimated 10% of individuals who lose their taste or smell whilst having COVID-19 develop parosmia, where the neurons in a person’s nose become damaged, resulting in a warped taste and smell. Due to the minimal research that has been put into this disorder, there is not yet a cure for it, and it is supposed “go away by itself." It can last between 3 months and 2 years. 

Parosmia has affected my life in every way possible. I can no longer be downstairs whilst my family are cooking dinner or cook for myself. I can no longer go to a café, or out for a meal with friends or family, due to the smells and the chance that I may not be able to eat anything there. I can no longer decide last minute what I want for dinner, everything I eat must be planned in advance. I have to keep a list of my safe foods and my trigger foods, so I can keep track of what affects me the most. And by trigger foods... there are a lot of trigger foods. It would be impossible to healthily sustain a diet of just foods that are not affected by my parosmia, as I have found probably less than 10. Living with parosmia as a 17-year-old girl is stressful, and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. With Christmas around the corner, it is bound to be a stress-provoking time of year for the 7 million people who suffer from parosmia globally. 

However, I am learning to adapt my lifestyle and diet, and I hope that this article has given an insight into what this rarely spoken about illness is like. For anyone who may be reading this article who also suffers, or knows someone with parosmia, please know that it is not forever! And remember, your parosmia is not an inconvenience to anyone else, it is something that you cannot blame yourself for.