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Post-COVID Side Effect: Distorted Sense of Smell (Parosmia) Halts Mental Health

Post-COVID Side Effect: Distorted Sense of Smell (Parosmia) Halts Mental Health

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  • Loss of smell is one of the prominent symptoms of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • However, -10% of people who recover these impaired senses deal with other post-COVID-19 issues such as parosmia
  • Parosmiais a sense of distorted smell encountered in things that smell unpleasantly different than they used to (e.g., a rose might smell like feces), thereby exerting a serious effect on people's mental and emotional wellbeing
  • This emphasizes the necessity of attention towards this rare side effect of COVID-19

The smell may sound like a simple sense which is now considered a seriousissueduring this pandemic. Most COVID-19 patients experience a certain level of loss of taste and smell as a common side effect. But about 10% of people who overcome these senses deal with other post-COVID-19 issues, including Parosmia. The nature of COVID-19 offers a unique opportunity to learn more about smell disorders in ways that can help people in the future.

What is Parosmia?

Parosmia is characterized by the distorted sense of smell when things smell unpleasantly different than they used to (for e.g., a rose might smell like feces)."Like rotten food in a refrigerator or a dirty trashcan or poop. It can smell like something really unpleasant," says Dallas County Medical Society President Dr. Beth-Kassaoff Piper.


Parosmia generally occurs as a result of damaged olfactory senses weeks or months after the initial viral infection or other health condition.

Although people recover within months, it can profoundlyaffect people's mental and emotional wellbeing especially when people develop parosmia (offensive smell) and are repelled by their own body or their relations'/ partners' odor.

Parosmia - Uncommon Side Effect of COVID-19

It was estimated that 47% of people with COVID-19 had smell and taste changes as per a review, among which half of them reported developing parosmia. The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine may include headaches, body aches, or fever as an immune response.

It was reported that 84% of people who received the Pfizer vaccine in clinical trials had a reaction at the injection site, and 63% experienced fatigue. However, a metallic taste following vaccination is far less common side effect lasting only a few days and is not even included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list.

People now come up to social media like Facebook to share their experiences and find a community experiencing this same ailment. This emphasizes the requirement of attention towards this rare side effect of COVID-19 that may help improve their management.

Studies report that this rare side effect of altered taste immediately follow the vaccine shot. The delay of this symptom accompanied by loss of smell may fairly indicate a solid sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Measures to Overcome Parosmia

  • Abiding with a sense of distorted smell indeed alters the way you interpret the world around you, making familiar things alien. Initially, it may result in confusion and disheartening emotions
  • But measure like olfactory training or smell training has arisen as a simple and side-effect free treatment choice for several causes of smell loss
  • The technique lets the patient sniff at least four different odors twice a day every day for various months based on the concept of neuroplasticity
  • Traversing out the triggers and patterns associated with parosmia may make it more manageable
  • Establishing a support group on social media such as Facebook renders with prospects to share problems with people having similar issues and overcome mental distress

Source: Medindia

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