How People Are Dealing with Distorted Smell

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Sarah Govier, a health care worker in England who experienced parosmia after getting Covid-19, created Covid Anosmia/Parosmia Support Group over the summer. “The day I opened it in August, five or six people joined,” she said. “By January we hit 10,000 people.” Now it has nearly 16,000 members.

Another Facebook group, AbScent, which was started before the pandemic and is associated with a charity organization, has seen increased interest. “People are coming from all over, from South America, Central Asia, Far East Russia, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Canada,” said Chrissi Kelly, the founder of AbScent.

In March, Siobhan Dempsey, 33, a graphic designer and photographer in Northampton, England, posted to the Covid Anosmia/Parosmia Facebook group: “I’m happy to say that I have now got 90 percent of my taste and smell back after almost a year of catching Covid.” She was flooded with congratulatory remarks.

It had been a long journey for her. For months, everything had a burning, chemical odor. Vegetables, which made up most of her diet since she is a vegetarian, were intolerable. “Anything sweet was terrible,” she said. “Dr. Pepper, Fanta, it was disgusting.”

In the past few weeks, however, she’s noticed a shift. “It sounds cliché, but this past weekend in the U.K. was Mother’s Day, and my partner and 3-year-old boy bought me flowers,” she said. “I was like, ‘These smell really nice.’”

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