Post-COVID Outcome Could Change Kids’ Gastronomic Tastes Completely, Scientists Say
- January, 19, 2022 - 14:09
- Science news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – 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.
“Parosmia” — when people experience strange and often unpleasant smell distortions — is relatively common after a COVID infection, with 250,000 adults in the UK estimated to have suffered parosmia as a result of having the coronavirus, CNBC reported.
Experts say it could be a reason why children who have recovered from COVID might find it hard to eat foods they once loved.
Instead of smelling a lemon, for example, someone suffering from parosmia may smell rotting cabbage, or chocolate may smell like gasoline.
Leading UK smell expert Carl Philpott, a professor at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, and charity Fifth Sense released guidance on Tuesday to help parents and health-care professionals better recognize the disorder and distinguish it from “fussy eating.”
“Parosmia is thought to be a product of having less smell receptors working, which leads to only being able to pick up some of the components of a smell mixture,’” Philpott commented Tuesday.
“We know that an estimated 250,000 adults in the UK have suffered parosmia as a result of a COVID infection but in the last few months, particularly since COVID started sweeping through classrooms last September, we’ve become more and more aware that it’s affecting children too.”
He added: “In many cases the condition is putting children off their food, and many may be finding it difficult to eat at all.”
Philpott said the condition hadn’t really been recognized by medical professionals until now, with many assuming that children were being difficult eaters without realizing there was an underlying problem.
“For some children — and particularly those who already had issues with food, or with other conditions such as autism — it can be really difficult. I expect there are a lot of parents at their wits’ end and really worried,” he said.
Fifth Sense Chairman and founder Duncan Boak said the charity had received anecdotal evidence from parents that children are “really struggling” with their food after COVID.
“We’ve heard from some parents whose children are suffering nutritional problems and have lost weight, but doctors have put this down to just fussy eating. We’re really keen to share more information on this issue with the healthcare profession so they’re aware that there is a wider problem here,” Boak said.
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.