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Posts Tagged ‘smell’

Since Covid-19 has struck, symptoms have been a large part of the conversations around the virus. Lately the loss of the sense of taste or smell could be indictive of having Coronavirus. And today, while listening to the radio, a musical artist was being interviewed who had coronavirus and recovered. He stated his only real symptoms were the loss of taste and smell.

He stated he wasn’t able to smell food frying in the pan, and it tasted funny. He could not smell his shampoo or hygienic products. He went about the house and tried to smell a pumpkin candle and other items that should have had distinctive scents or taste’s. He was apparently unable to ascertain any smell or real taste.

I guess that makes sense (no pun intended) as I’ve heard taste and smell are connected. I wouldn’t know though. I was born with anosmia… the technical term for a lack of smell. Good, bad, indifferent, I’ve never had an awareness of a scent.

People would talk about the delight of bacon frying, flowers blooming, coffee brewing or certain perfumes. They would cringe when discussing skunks, dirty bathrooms, rotten eggs, and sour milk. Fresh cut grass. Pumpkin spice anything. Newly painted rooms. Dead fish. Christmas trees. House on fire. I’m forever clueless about any of these.

Seriously, true story. I almost burned the house down when I was newly married. I was heating up oil to fry dinner, turned my back to the stove to attend to other things. (Yes, I knew better, but for whatever reason was preoccupied that day and “forgot” cooking lesson # 1) The pan burned, filled the kitchen directly behind me with smoke, and by the time I turned around, flames were licking up the walls. It all ended well, fortunately, but anyone else would have smelled the smoke moments before I turned around.

Years before that, I wanted to cook a bagel in the microwave at work. Being new to both bagels and microwaves, I felt five minutes was a good starting point to cook the bagel. Five minutes later I had a scorched hockey puck and a building full of smoke that took the rest of the day to air out. I found it interesting that people smelled the smoke seconds from walking in the door yet I had completely missed it mere feet from the source (where once again my back was turned).

Some things remain a mystery to me still. Take flatulence. How can something that allegedly will make people turn green and hold their breath as they dash from the room slowly “just disappear” over time, whereas the stench of musk glands, burnt popcorn or curdled milk stays indefinitely? How can perfume linger on clothes, letters, and other fabrics while disappearing in the air, but perfumes can hang in the air at places like the perfumery or the cosmetic counter? I have never understood the whole some scents just stay and some fade. How is this stuff decided upon?

When people learn I can’t smell, it usually leads to the question of: If you can’t smell, can you taste? I have excellent taste, thank you. (yes, pun intended) And yes, I can taste what I put in my mouth, just slightly different than most people would. My taste buds are… different.

Anything with the tiniest bit of spice or heat is able to make flames shoot out of my mouth like a dragon. Mild? No such thing! Mild flavor or mild heat will have me gulping the water. Ditto for pepper. That rules out a lot of foods from my plate. Many things are too similar for me to tell apart. Butterscotch and caramel are two examples that both taste the same. Most berries are another. Most fish too. There normally isn’t enough distinction for me to tell one kind from another.

And sweets! I seldom have had enough sweets in anything. It’s almost impossible for me to have anything too sweet. I like a little salt, like chips, but prefer sweet hands down any day.

So that leads me to a question of my own… for someone who already has little to no sense of taste or smell, how would they know if they were having those specific symptoms of Covid-19? In the absence of the other common symptoms, it could be misleading.

Does anyone know of someone else with Anosmia? Or how it can be helpful or detrimental to Covid-19?

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