Gavin Lundy found his sense of taste and smell had altered (Image: Gavin Lundy)
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A man could only eat cheese toasties and pasta after he claimed coronavirus led to food tasting like rotten meat and soap.
Gavin Lundy, had a mild case of Covid-19 in January which made him lose his taste and smell.
Although both gradually returned to normal he told the Daily Record he was left puzzled when he woke up two months ago to find his favourite food repulsed him.
The 24-year-old from Ardrossan, south-west Scotland, said foods now have a variety of putrid flavours, including vomit, rusty metal, dirty mops, rotten meat, soap and sewers.
Even beer tastes bad.
Gavin, who works in politics, believes he is suffering from the rare condition parosmia – one of several Covid-related problems that causes the odours of certain things – or in some cases everything – to change.
The only things he can now enjoy are cheese, bread and pasta – and says the repetitive bland meals are ‘driving him nuts’.
He was left eating nothing but cheesy pasta and toasties for weeks
(Image: Gavin Lundy)
Gavin said: "I got Covid back in January for a week or so, then it hit me really hard and I had really bad shortness of breath. I also lost my taste.
“I could eat a full head of garlic and bite into an onion like an apple.
“It lasted a wee while and my taste slowly came back. I had phantom smells for a few weeks – licking an envelope and smelling paint.
“My sense of taste started slowly coming back, then a month or two later I thought it was back to normal.
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“One day I woke up and everything tasted and smelled like soap. People online call it the ’Covid smell’ and it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.”
Gavin explained that some foods smell and taste worse than others, including garlic, onion and meats.
He said: "The only way I can describe it is like rotten rosewater or soap that is somehow rotten. It would be like if you mixed a bottle of fairy liquid and meat.
"Now I’ve had it for nearly two months, I’ve noticed a larger variety of smells. The worst thing is still the rotten taste you get.
He said Covid caused good beer to taste bad
(Image: Gavin Lundy)
“Onion, garlic, meat and tomatoes – those umami savoury flavours – just smell and taste like a sewer or properly rotten meat.
“For a few weeks, I was living on cheese toasties and cheesy pasta.”
Gavin, who posted a TikTok about his experience, has turned to online support groups and medical articles to try and find a solution – but there is still limited information.
Little research has been carried out on so-called long Covid, which can impact people for weeks and even months after contracting the virus.
He said: "I'm actually on the right track. Cheese is my best friend right now, bread and pasta are totally reliable. Even stinky blue cheese is fine.”
Gavin would like more research into Long Covid
(Image: Gavin Lundy)
One thing Gavin has tried is ‘smell training’ – sometimes known as olfactory training – which involves taking a whiff of memorable odours such as orange and peppermint throughout the day.
However, Gavin has stressed there is still limited research on the link between parosmia and long-Covid and he's desperate to raise awareness of the issue.
He said: "Now I'm getting that to the point I can eating a lot of different things like fish and chicken."
"You start to feel the difference when you’re only eating cheese and carbs. I started eating feeling really tired."
"I’m a massive foodie so a few weeks eating of just cheese and bread was driving me a bit nuts.
"My actual Covid wasn't that bad, but my long Covid has been a much bigger challenge and is not getting any better.
"Some weeks I feel really fatigued and it's hard to function and some weeks and fine."
He added: There’s actually more needs to be done to raise awareness about [these] challenges, [and having] no pleasure in eating food."