Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
What is Parosmia? © Alamy
© Alamy

What is Parosmia?

Published: 23rd April, 2022 at 18:00
Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

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.

Advertisement

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.

Read more:

Asked by: Vincent Hawes, London

Advertisement

To submit your questions email us at questions@sciencefocus.com (don't forget to include your name and location)

Authors

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content