Altered smell and taste: Anosmia, parosmia and the impact of long Covid-19

Burges Watson, Duika L., Campbell, Miglena, Hopkins, Claire, Smith, Barry, Kelly, Chris and Deary, Vincent (2021) Altered smell and taste: Anosmia, parosmia and the impact of long Covid-19. PLoS ONE, 16 (9). e0256998. ISSN 1932-6203

pone.0256998.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (458kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Background: Qualitative olfactory (smell) dysfunctions are a common side effect of post-viral illness and known to impact quality of life and health status. Evidence is emerging that taste and smell loss are common symptoms of Covid-19 that may emerge and persist long after initial infection. The aim of the present study was to document the impact of post Covid-19 alterations to taste and smell. Methods: We conducted exploratory thematic analysis of user-generated text from 9000 users of the AbScent Covid-19 Smell and Taste Loss moderated Facebook support group from March 24 to 30th September 2020. Results: Participants reported difficulty explaining and managing an altered sense of taste and smell; a lack of interpersonal and professional explanation or support; altered eating; appetite loss, weight change; loss of pleasure in food, eating and social engagement; altered intimacy and an altered relationship to self and others. Conclusions: Our findings suggest altered taste and smell with Covid-19 may lead to severe disruption to daily living that impacts on psychological well-being, physical health, relationships and sense of self. More specifically, participants reported impacts that related to reduced desire and ability to eat and prepare food; weight gain, weight loss and nutritional insufficiency; emotional wellbeing; professional practice; intimacy and social bonding; and the disruption of people’s sense of reality and themselves. Our findings should inform further research and suggest areas for the training, assessment and treatment practices of health care professionals working with long Covid.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B100 Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 10:23
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2021 14:05

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics