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Northeast Ohio nurse struggling with long haul COVID-19 symptoms impacting taste and smell

Food smells rotten. Even a drink like coffee tastes horrible. It's known as parosmia.

CLEVELAND — As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its second year, there's a side effect that is sticking with those who have not fully recovered. 

Chanin Patsouras says she felt she was losing her mind when everything she ate and smelled was off. She says she felt 'crazy for a little bit' until she found a Facebook page where people were sharing similar stories. That, at least, made Chanin feel better.

“I was shocked that there was no real talk of it. There's no real talk of this happening and I'm in a group where it has 20,000 people in it," Chanin says.

The Facebook group features people who are long haulers after contracting COVID-19. Chanin's husband too is a long hauler. He lost his taste and smell last December. Both had Covid then. 

But she has something different. Her sense of smell and taste are distorted. Food smells rotten. Even a drink like coffee tastes horrible. It's known as parosmia. 

“You're almost tasting it (food) as if it is going bad," Chanin explains. "So I’m thinking, 'Am I serving bad food?'”

Parosmia is an abnormality of the sense of smell. Everything in Chanin's house, from laundry detergent to vegetables, has an unpleasant smell. The registered nurse says it came a few months after she got Covid, just like some her fellow posters on Facebook.

Patsouras doesn't know how long this will last. Some people on the Facebook page have had it for more than a year. It is getting better. But she has a long way to go. She believes time will heal her taste buds, but it still is a long haul.

“It is scary to think I may never enjoy normal food again the way I once did," she adds.

Patsouras says Cleveland Clinic has a team of experts in their ReCover Clinic that specialize in covid 19 long haul effects. They evaluate your symptoms that refer you to an expert to treat your symptoms. Chanin says she may consult with them if her symptoms don't improve.

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