I rarely feel hungry and only eat when I feel I should – food smells are physically repulsive

I caught Covid in October 2020, and lost my sense of smell and taste. Back then I worked in a school, so catching the virus felt inevitable. At first, I didn’t think too much about it: anosmia (loss of sense of smell) is a common symptom of the virus. After four weeks or so, and a brief stint in hospital, I regained some of my ability to taste things: salty, sour, sweet. My nose was still misbehaving, but my tongue was starting to slowly whirr back into action. I thought I was on the mend.

By the middle of December, however, things started to get strange. In the house, I was certain I kept smelling stale ashtrays. I’m not a smoker, so it made no sense. Then I started smelling exhaust fumes. I looked online and found other people reporting similar experiences of phantosmia (smelling of odours that aren’t there). I’d be consumed by these aromas even in pure, clean air.

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