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If COVID-19 smells bad, you are not alone

Samantha LaLibert, a social worker in Nashville, Tennessee, believes she has fully recovered from COVID-19. But in mid-November, about seven months after his illness, the order to remove him smelled so bad that he threw it away. When he stopped at a friend’s house cooking, he ran out and vomited on the lawn in front of him.

“I stopped going to places, even for dinner at my mom’s house or with friends, because it smelled so bad from eating to candlelight,” said Lalibert, 35. “My relationship is strained.”

He deals with parosmia, the distortion of the smell so that previously pleasant aromas, such as fresh coffee or a romantic partner, can become unpleasant, even unbearable. Along with anosmia or impaired sense of smell, it is a symptom that persists in some people recovering from COVID-19.

The exact number of people with paroxysms is unknown. A recent study found that 47% of people with COVID-19 had a change in smell or taste. About half of them reported that parosmia was developing.

“It means the rose may smell of feces,” said Dr. Richard Dotte, director of the University of Pennsylvania Fragrance Center. He noted that people usually regain their sense of smell within months.

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At the moment, LaLiberte can not stand the smell of his own body. Ower is not useful. The smell of her body wash, conditioner and shampoo made her sick.

Moreover, she found the same odor on her eight-year-old husband. “Now there is no rapprochement at all,” he said. “And not because we do not want to.”

“It’s a much bigger issue than people deserve,” said Dr. Duica Burgess Watson, who heads the Network for Changed Eating Research at the University of Newcastle in England. “It’s something that affects your relationship with yourself, your relationships with others, your social life, your intimacy.”

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Many people with paroxysmal grief complain of a loss of social habits, such as going out to dinner or being physically close to loved ones, especially after a year of isolation.

“It’s a terrible struggle for me,” said 25-year-old Nashville singer Kylie Rose. He played live music in bars and restaurants all over the country, and walking in those areas became uncomfortable. “I was in Arizona for a show, we went into a restaurant, I almost jumped,” he said. But dealing with people’s reactions to his condition is almost worse.

“My friends are constantly trying to get me to try their food because they think I’m exaggerating.” Now he bypasses most social gatherings, either going or not eating.

Essika Emmett, 36, who works for an insurance company in Spokane, Washington, has twice received COVID-19, first in early July and again in October. Parosmia is a permanent symptom. “I feel like my breath is constantly weakening,” he said.

Before touching her husband, she uses mouthwash and toothpaste. Even then, he could not shake the smell. And it’s not just his breath. “My sweat, I feel it, it changes a little,” he said.

The result is much less intimacy. “There is really no passionate, spontaneous kiss,” he said.

Her only consolation is that she has been with her husband for over 20 years. “How do you explain this to someone you are trying to meet?” he said.

Borges Watson said he encountered young people with paroxysms who were nervous about making new connections. “They can be repelled by their own body odor,” he said. “They have a hard time thinking about what other people might think of them.”

When Rose first started having parosmia, her friend did not realize it was a real condition. And although she is more sensitive to her needs now, she can still feel lonely. “I wish he could be in my place for one meal,” he said.

He had family members who thought he was overreacting. He remembers that one day, near Thanksgiving, his mother ordered him a special meal that he could tolerate, and his sister accidentally ate it. A fight broke out. “My sister thought I was too sensitive,” she said. “It was really disappointing.”

Many people with parotism feel isolated because people around them do not get what they are going through, says Dot. “They hope people can deal with their problems, but often they do not.”

LaLiberte said she could finally sit on the couch next to her husband. “Although I am still self-conscious about myself,” he added. “Mine has not improved yet.”

Finding a community:

Some paroxysmal sufferers have turned to Facebook groups to share tips with people who may be related to their symptoms. “I went to the doctor, the doctor legally looked at me like I was crazy,” said Enny Banchero, 36, a St. Petersburg-based artist who has had parosmia since early September. “Before I joined the Facebook group, I learned that people take it seriously.”

I went to the doctor, the doctor looked at me legally, as if I was a crazy person. I was the only one who joined the Facebook group and learned that people take it seriously. ”
– 36-year-old Florida’s Banchero, Florida, who has had parosmia since early September

Sarah Govier, a UK health worker who developed paroxysm after receiving COVID-19, formed the COVID Anosmia / Parosmia Support Group this summer. “The day I opened it in August, five or six people joined,” he said. “In January, we hit 10,000 people.” It now has almost 16,000 members.

Another pre-epidemic Facebook group of AbScent, which is affiliated with a charity, has aroused great interest. “People come from all over South America, Central Asia, Far East Russia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Canada,” said Chris Kelly, founder of AbScent.

In the city of Northampton, England, Martin, 33-year-old graphic designer and photographer Siobhan Dempsey posted to the COVID Anosmia / Parosmia Facebook group. Year of catching COVID. ” He was flooded with congratulatory words.

It has come a long way for him. For months, everything had a burning, chemical odor. Vegetables, which were a major part of his diet because he was a vegetarian, were intolerable. “Anything sweet was terrible,” he said. “Dr. Piper, Fanta, it was disgusting.”

Over the past few weeks, however, he has noticed a shift. “It sounds like a cliché, but last weekend was Mother’s Day in the UK, և my partner և a 3-year-old boy bought me flowers,” she said. “I was like, ‘These smell really nice.’ »

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