Long COVID | Taste and Smell | Managing the Effects
Due to coronavirus being a fairly new disease, there is still very limited guidance on the long-term data for recovery of smell. From other studies of viral infection and the effect on smell, the effects can often last from within weeks to many months.
Loss of smell will affect the way flavours will be detected. The flavour of food is a combination of smell and taste, of which we have five basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury) which aren’t normally affected when we lose smell due to the being detected with the tongue.
What can I do to improve the taste of food?
- Choose foods which appeal to you to ensure you still eat well.
- Keep your mouth clean and healthy by brushing your teeth twice daily and rinse your mouth if it feels dry and uncomfortable.
- If cooking smells are affecting your appetite, try using microwave ready meals or cold food as a short-term alternative.
- Try experimenting with different flavours, textures and temperatures of food unless you have been given specific recommendations not to.
- Protein intake is key to recovery, however, they can often taste bitter or metallic. Use sweet or sour marinades to change the flavour and try a variety of protein sources to find the most enjoyable for you.
- Strong flavours can help with taste so use plenty of herbs, spices and sauces to improve flavour.
- Sharp or tart flavoured food and drinks such as orange or lemon can be useful to balance very sweet tastes.
- If foods have a metallic taste, try swapping metal cutlery and use plastic instead.