‘Like garbage’: Local woman details long-term struggles with sense of smell, taste after getting COVID


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cathy Bailey thought she was over COVID-19 after contracting it in January. She had lost her sense of taste and smell initially, but some months later that morphed into something even worse.

Bailey now says food and drinks can smell like garbage, chemicals and even cigarette smoke. The long-term side effect is a health condition called parosmia, which is when a person’s olfactory neurons are damaged (often times from an infection of some sort) causing one’s sense of smell and taste to be off.

The Maple Heights resident said that while parosmia seems to only affect a small amount of those who’ve recovered from COVID, it’s something that more people need to know about.

“Parosmia has been around, people just don’t talk about it. I think a lot of people just don’t know, they just don’t know what they are suffering from,” Bailey said.

Since dealing with parosmia, Bailey says she’s lost weight and eats the same boring foods on a daily basis, ones that don’t trigger her symptoms as much.

FOX 8’s Kristi Capel spoke with Bailey and learned more about parosmia, as seen in the video above. Bailey said she wants others to know they aren’t alone and she hopes more researchers continue to look into this issue.

Those who are may be suffering from the health condition can find a support group right here.

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