Study warns of new post-Covid outcome for children
Some children could become “fussy eaters” after Covid, as the disease affects their sense of smell in a “strange” way, filling them with disgust for once-favorite dishes, new research shows.
According to experts from the University of East Anglia and Fifth Sense, a charity helping people with smell and taste disorders, “more and more children could be turning into ‘fussy eaters’ after a bout of Covid” because “they may be suffering parosmia - a symptom where people experience strange and often unpleasant smell distortions.”
The researchers explained that patients affected by parosmia may smell rotting cabbage instead of a lemon, or petrol instead of chocolate.
“And children in particular may be finding it hard to eat foods they once loved,” they said.
It is a well-known fact that many adults suffer from post-Covid parosmia. But now, as the disease is spreading quickly among school children, it has become clear that it affects kids too, with some “finding it difficult to eat at all.” Smell expert Professor Carl Philpott, from the UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said he is seeing teenagers with parosmia for the first time in his career.
Smell distortions might become especially difficult for children who already have some eating disorders or suffer from other conditions, such as autism. The study's authors believe these issues have not been recognized by medical professionals, as parosmia used to be a rare phenomenon in kids.
They have put together guidance for parents and medics “to help them better recognise and understand the condition.” Among the recommendations, they list keeping a diary “to make a note of foods that are safe and those that are triggers.”
Loss or change of sense of smell is considered to be a common Covid-19 symptom experienced by a majority of patients. In most cases, their sense of smell goes back to normal within a few weeks or months but sometimes the condition requires treatment or might even become permanent.