Taste and smell wiped out. Ugh

I finally caught this thing last week after what, 2 years? Vaxxed and boosted. I’ve travelled a fair amount for work over this period so it was bound to get to me eventually. My case has been pretty mild, stuffy nose, sore throat and headache for a few days but I’m certainly positive, one PCR test in the airport and 2 home tests since.

I had heard that it can effect your sense of smell and taste but wasn’t prepared for how abruptly they fell off a cliff. It’s really impossible to imagine what its like until you experience it and it sucks. My wife bought me a bag of Ruffles to snack on in isolation Saturday and I chowed most of the bag and assumed they were low-salt chips because I was able to eat so many and didn’t notice the salt. Well they were regular Ruffles and I’m telling you, they had zero flavor and I couldn’t taste the salt.

This morning I ate a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast and zero flavor. I could feel the texture and could feel the cold milk in my mouth but again zero flavor.

Drank 2 bottles of Fruit Punch Gatorade while working in the yard today (my family went out of town and my symptoms are mild) and I’m telling you, it may as well have been cold water because zilcho.

Chewed some minty gum and nothing. I felt some “tingling” from the menthol I suppose but otherwise nothing.

I use Proraso Pre-Shave cream on my face and it smells STRONG. Like Icy-Hot. Nothing. I could feel it tingling up my face but no scent.

Held 2 sticks of Old Spice deodorant up to each nostril and breathed deeply. Nothing at all. If I was blindfolded and someone snuck them up to my face I would have no clue.

The worst though was the banana I ate this afternoon. It could have been mashed potatoes, rissoto, pumpkin pie, apple sauce, pudding and I would not have been able to tell you what was in my mouth. The texture was there but not a hint of flavor or smell.

It’s actually a little disturbing now that I’m experiencing it. If I had a gas leak or something burning in my house I don’t know that I would notice it. I’ve heard it comes back within a week or so but I’ve also heard it can last a really long time.


I didn’t get the smell/taste symptoms with Covid, but I’ve had it with colds and flus in the past. It is pretty disconcerting, but I thought it was typical of anything that involves congestion. Is it that odd?

I was thankful that my case a few weeks ago didn’t seem to cause much of a loss of taste or smell. I did have one meal that tasted rather off - a Carolina vinegar based BBQ chicken. That could have been from congestion.

A good friend of mine had Covid back in December of 2020 and lost both senses. She tried to explain to me what it was like, and it sounds very much like Cubsfan’s experience. She described them as just gone - nothing there - like a light switch.

Then a few days later, she texted me to say she caught a little scent of a candle, and she was running around trying to smell anything she could find.

It all came back for her after a few more days.

I’m undergoing chemo right now and my taste is just weird. I had chicken souvlaki the other night. I could only taste the cucumbers that came with it. Most fruits and some veggies are the only things I can really taste except for zero sugar root beer.

I’m not congested at all thats the thing. I’ve had bad colds or allergies where I’m all jammed up and my taste is diminished but salt is still salty and spicy is still spicy. This isn’t that. It’s like a switch flipped and I have zero sense of taste or smell. It’s not even 10%, zero. The only sensation in my mouth is hot/cold and I can tell if there is something acidic in there, like an energy drink or green grapes etc… but its not flavor, its more like a feeling. Like if you get a spritz of lemon juice in your eye or on a mucus membrane. That’s the best way I can describe it. I spritzed my cologne into the air and walked into the mist and breathed deeply. Nothing at all.

I lost mine for 3 or 4 days and then it returned suddenly – like between breakfast and lunch suddenly. I went from being able to taste nothing at one meal to be back to normal the next. It was weird. Both my kids and my wife never lost either senses when they were positive.

I never had the smell/taste lack in covid, but from talking to people who have, apparently it’s MUCH more than what you’d get in a typical cold or flu. With most head congestion your sense of smell/taste is diminished but not entirely absent - you’d still smell something very intense, like skunk. Also, with congestion you still can taste salt, sweet, sour, and bitter because that’s not actually connected to smell but really is taste you sense with your tongue. But with covid you lose the sense entirely - nothing, not even the taste-bud ones. It’s a much more complete loss than with typical congestion.

Huh. I’ve twice lost my sense of smell to a cold. And that was really disconcerting. A burger didn’t taste like beef, it just tasted vaguely umani. An apple didn’t taste like apple, but it tasted sweet and sour. Nothing like congestion, which is just a diminished sensation.

I’ve never lost sweet/sour/salty/bitter/umani. That sounds horrible.

That sounds horrible indeed, I hope you recover swiftly! May I ask whether this also affects your sense of hot, not temperature wise, but like in hot chillies? Are your capsaicin receptors also turned off? And if so: does this apply to the ones at the other end of the digestive tract too?

Yes, what I’ve heard is that with Covid, it’s more than just having your odor receptors blocked by congestion, the virus is actually messing with the odor recepting nerves in your nose. When I got Covid between Christmas and New Year’s, I had been vaxxed and my symptoms were extremely mild, but my sense of smell was 0. Nothing. Nada. A mentholyptus cough drop might as well have been a sugar pill, except for the cool sensation if I inhaled through my mouth. I recovered my sense of smell completely after a couple weeks.

I haven’t tried anything super spicy yet, specifically because I know it’ll feel like I’m shitting pinecones in the morning if I chow hard on super hot wings or chilies with no mouth fire to slow me down.

My actual tongue is a dead zone, as is my nose, but the area under my tongue where the saliva comes out (I think) does feel acids. Very strange.

Did the deodorant stick test again this morning, 2 different sticks of really perfumey Old Spice deodorants about 1/4” under each nostril and big deep breaths. Nothing.

Tried the Proraso pre-shave stuff and same, nothing, though I could feel the fumes burning my eyes.

Same thing happened to me when I had Delta variant last summer. It was EXTREMELY weird and nothing at all like the loss you get from being congested. Just as you say, it was just like flipping a switch and I had no sense of taste or smell at all.

Very strange, very unpleasant. Lunch was normal, and then for dinner my wife served some pasta with roasted cauliflower. I remember thinking “this is weird. Why would she use frozen cauliflower. She never does that, but this has absolutely no flavor.” Then I realized.

For me, it lasted about a week or ten days, long after any other symptoms had disappeared. And when it came back, it was also quite sudden. And oh, boy, was I glad!

I hope you have better luck getting it back I’ve had. I got COVID Christmas Eve 2020. Hardly sick at all, but it was weeks before anything came back, and then it was weeks of smelling only stale cigarette smoke. About three months until having any other kind of smell or taste. Even now I only have about 50% back. Some days nothing at all, some days normal, some days where I can taste but it’s all wrong. Chocolate still taste like a buzzy penny, and every once in a while I will have a day of “smelling” an explosion in a chemical factory.

You do get used to it, and really appreciate the days it works well. Not the worst long haul symptom out there.

My sense of taste/smell was hit 8 months ago when I got Covid. Slowly coming back but far from what it used to be. We’ve passed dead Skunks on the road that my wife smells and I cannot. I’ve opened new bottles of bleach and was not able to smell them at all. Eating foods I’ve always loved in my long life now often taste different and often have the same weird taste to it yet I cannot explain what it is. But the one benefit I have seen is I decided back before this started to lose some weight and be healthier. Well I’ve lost 50lbs and at the weight I was back in my 20’s which was 40 years ago so there has at least been some benefits to this loss of taste and smell.

Somebody told me yesterday that Yankee Candle is suffering record numbers of product returns on the basis that the candles have no scent, attributing it to Covid anosmia.

Hopefully the OP got their senses back–I have buddy who never tested positive but is 2 years without taste or smell. You’d have to assume it’s permanent at this point.

Look into getting a gas leak alarm. You can get them where smoke detectors are sold and they’re pretty cheap. They’ll detect natural gas and carbon monoxide. They’re good from a normal safety perspective, but especially good when people lose their sense of smell. I got one for my daughter who also lost her sense of smell when she had COVID since she had gas appliances.

My sister lost here sense of smell and taste back in 2020, and she nearly burned down her house because she couldn’t smell the burning pot that she let boil dry. My BIL came running in to save the day and take the pot off the stove.


I found that I could still detect the basic tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter). Housemate made a big pot of chicken soup and it tasted bitter. I had some ginger hard candy that should have been very strongly ginger - I could tell it was sweet, and felt the ginger burn, but didn’t TASTE the ginger at all.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream was cold, creamy, sweet, and the right texture, with little brown vaguely crunchy bits. I must complain to Breyer’s.

I hope your loss is short. Mine lasted a few months, and I think I still have a few lingering effects.

I had Delta almost exactly a year ago. When the anosmia hit, I could hold an open bottle of rubbing alcohol under my nose and take a deep sniff – nothing. My sense of taste never completely went away, but it was very much affected. Everything tasted bland. I made the mistake of cooking a few times, and my family let me know that I clearly should not be in charge of seasoning and spices.

I also had fears about not being able to smell smoke or gas or even my own body odor. On the positive side, it made cleaning the cat boxes less unpleasant.

Worse, the long term loss of smell may indicate that Covid has caused brain damage.

My doctor sent me a link to a study that showed people got their sense of smell back a little faster (if they did get it back) by doing some smell testing/training. They took like 10 things that had familiar strong odors, all pleasant, and sniffed them everyday. They recorded whether they could detect anything. The people doing this vs doing nothing got the sense of smell back faster. I’m not sure if it means it helped, or if it means they noticed it faster. But if it was coming from actual brain damage to the olfactory bulb, then it could be about making new neural pathways and retraining the brain.