Even after a year of dealing with the novel coronavirus, there are still signs, symptoms, and after-effects that are being discovered. New reports have surfaced noting that many COVID-19 patients who have already recovered from the illness are still smelling fishy, burning and sulphuric odours.

Dr. Nirmal Kumar, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon and the president of ENT UK, called the symptom parosmia, or that condition where one would catch strong smells of sulphur, fish, or a sweet sickly odour. In the scientific sense, parosmia refers to a distorted sense of smell.

Kumar said that many long-haulers, or those who have already recovered from coronavirus and yet continue to experience symptoms months after recovery, have experienced it. He also pointed out that it may be affecting more healthcare workers and young people who had dealt with COVID-19.

Kumar was among the first doctors who identified that the loss of smell is a coronavirus symptom. He discovered this way back in March when the virus first started to spread all over the world.

Sky News reported that Dr. Kumar said that while thousands of patients were being treated for losing their sense of smell due to COVID-19, there are those who have a distorted sense of smell, making people catch a whiff of mostly unpleasant odours.

Kumar explained that the virus has "affinity for the nerves in the head, and in particular, the nerve that controls the sense of smell." He added that it probably affects other nerves. One of the things he highlighted was the neurotransmitters or those that send messages to the brain as among those affected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet included parosmia as among the symptoms related to COVID-19. On its website, it noted that its published list does not include all possible symptoms and that the agency will continue to update the list as more is learned about the behaviour of COVID-19.

Smelling Fishy Odour
Long-haulers smell fishy and sulphuric odours. Photo: Pixabay

In October, a separate study from the King's College London in the UK made an analysis of the symptoms of about 4,182 coronavirus patients using a COVID Symptom Study app. They found that more than 500 patients had symptoms that lasted longer than 28 days. They also found that among the symptoms experienced by older long-haulers were headache, anosmia (loss of smell), fatigue, and dyspnea. Parosmia, on the other hand, often affects younger COVID patients.