Covid mum says some foods now smell like ‘wet dog and petrol’ including coffee

A mum-of-two says nearly "all food smells rotten" and she is "constantly smelling" herself after Covid scrambled her senses.

Sarah Govier, 44, said coffee now whiffs like car fumes, toothpaste tastes like petrol and chocolate is too disgusting to stomach.

The occupational therapist lost her sense of smell after catching the virus at William Harvey Hospital in April.

She suffered a total distortion of her sense of smell and taste weeks later and now likens the taste of meat to floral soap or perfume while garlic and onions reminds her of a mix of wet dog and stagnant water.

The medical name for her symptoms is "parosmia" and her husband Jim, 47, and kids Jake, 11, and Daniel, eight, didn't get symptoms.

Sarah, from Whitstable, Kent, said: "Coffee tasted horrible and cleaning my teeth with toothpaste felt like brushing them with petrol – it was vile!

"At first, everything smelt basically the same, so coffee smelt the same as if someone was smoking or like car fumes.

"Garlic and onions smelt awful – I can't even describe it, and because they're in basically every recipe or ready meal it made cooking very challenging!

"If I went into someone's house and they were cooking I would smell a mixture of wet dog and rancid water – everything just stank like mould!

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"I was having to sniff things before I ate them and it felt quite feral, like a weird kind of animal!

"The aftertaste was often just as bad as I could taste that horrible smell, and it would also linger in the kitchen for days.

"I even had to spit out chocolate!"

Sarah added: "I can also smell sweat really strongly in situations where you wouldn't normally notice, like just when I get a bit hot from walking the kids to school," she said.

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"A small bit of perspiration in my clothes smells like rotten cabbage, and when you can smell yourself all the time you get really paranoid.

"I'm constantly smelling myself and asking people if I stink – I haven't wanted to exercise because of the horrible smell of sweating!"

She went out for a fry up with a friend in August and realised everything tasted very salty, and the meat was "almost floral, like soap or perfume".

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Sarah said: "Gradually over a few days things just started selling awful, but it's very hard to describe because it doesn't smell like anything you've ever smelt before!

"Food shopping became a nightmare because I had no motivation to do any cooking."

She's still able to eat potatoes, pasta, rice, porridge, cheese and fish, as well as her favourite food of avocados with prawn cocktail, but is worried she'll get bored.

She said: "I was 10 stone in August which is the heaviest I had been in a long time, but within a couple of weeks of developing my parosmia I lost half a stone just because I wasn't eating."

Covid-19 damages the receptor nerve endings or supporting cells within their nose.

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