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What is Parosmia? © Alamy
© Alamy

What is Parosmia?

Published: 23rd April, 2022 at 18:00
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If you have long COVID, you may be experiencing this.

Parosmia is experiencing distortions of the sense of smell. A person with parosmia may be able to detect odours, but the smell of certain things might be different and often unpleasant. Fragrance writer Louise Woollam, for example, suffered from parosmia after a cold and found that most foods tasted of sewage and most things smelt disgusting.


We’ve heard a lot about it with COVID-19, but parosmia is common with all types of post-viral smell loss, and over half of people who have lost their sense of smell because of a virus will experience it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick cure, but charities such as Fifth Sense and AbScent suggest it often gets better with time.

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Asked by: Vincent Hawes, London


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Dr Nish Manek is a GP in London. She completed her medical degree at Imperial College and was runner-up in the University of London Gold Medal. Manek has also developed teaching courses for Oxford Medical School, and has penned articles for The Guardian and Pulse magazine.


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