A young woman from the US says she has been “experiencing a living hell” since being diagnosed with Covid-19 roughly 10 months ago.
Natalia Cano detailed her traumatising post-Covid side-effect in an emotional TikTok posted to her account this week.
The 20-year-old said she can no longer eat her favourite foods or enjoy most beverages, even water, because they taste foul.
Despite suffering for almost a year, Ms Cano said she only just learnt that there is a name for her symptoms — parosmia.
Parosmia can be caused by numerous things such as infections or brain tumours, but has become increasingly more common in people who have recovered from Covid since the pandemic began.
Parosmia usually occurs when someone’s scent-detecting neurons are damaged by a virus, causing them to send incorrect signals to the brain about smells, Healthline reports.
There is no known treatment but one study focusing on parosmia patients in hospitals in Iraq determined that the condition can last up to six months.
‘Completely ruined my life’
Ms Cano said after a 10-month battle with parosmia she has lost more than 18kgs.
“I’ve literally been experiencing a living hell for 10 months,” she said in her TikTok video.
“Parosmia means that anything that I taste and smell has become distorted to the point where it smells and tastes like rotting flesh and garbage and sewage.”
She said the neurological side effect of Covid has been “detrimental to [her] physical and mental health”.
“I am not ok and I haven’t been for 10 months because it’s literal torture,” the 20-year-old said while crying, adding that “even water is disgusting”.
Ms Cano said she has been forcing herself to drink protein shakes so she doesn’t continue to keep losing weight.
The lack of nutrients has caused hair on her head to start to fall out, as well as growth of new hair on other parts of her body.
“Any of the serious symptoms that are associated with anorexia happens when you get this,” she said.
“I am begging every single person who is watching this to wear their mask and to get vaccinated if they weren’t already,” Ms Cano said.
“This has completely ruined my life and my body.”
The 20-year-old said she is haunted by the day she caught Covid and wishes she had never pulled down her mask to eat a food sample.
“I think about it almost every day and I cry because I don’t know why this happened to me,” she said, adding that she’s going to start an experimental therapy to see if her symptoms can improve.
TikTok viewers with parosmia flood comment section
Ms Cano’s social media video has been viewed almost 300,000 times and has attracted more than 7,000 comments, many of which are from viewers suffering the same symptoms.
“I’ve had it for 11 months, you need to get a nose clip! You can eat anything you want with it and at least you won’t be malnourished,” one person wrote.
“You are not overreacting and I really appreciate that you made this video because I have been struggling for a long time as well,” a woman said.
“Mine lasted exactly 11 months, 28 days. Even air smelled rotten. I lost over 40lbs in six months despite barely being 130lbs before Covid,” another woman wrote.
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