A student who lost her sense of smell and taste when she got Covid-19 claims it still has not returned seven months later.
Marta Batista caught coronavirus in March and hasn’t been able to enjoy a meal or sniff anything other than ‘rotten plastic’ since.
The aspiring actress, 21, from Ealing, West London, weighed just over 9st when she caught the virus but claims that she’s since shed 17lbs because she can’t enjoy eating.
Loss of smell is one of the reported symtpoms of ‘long covid’, but Marta has not reported any other issues, and she’s not made clear whether she’s sought medical advice for about her loss of smell.
While rehabilitation clinics are being set up across England to treat thousands of patients with Long Covid, they reperesent a tiny portion with only one per cent of patients still ill six months later.
The proportion is likely a lot lower when everyone who never tested positive or realised they had the illness is taken into account.
Marta Batista, 21, from Ealing, West London,(pictured) had mild coronavirus symptoms in March and has since been unable to smell or taste anything – and she is now worrying it may never return
The aspiring actress, who previously weighed 9st, lost 17lbs as a result of the virus and hasn’t been able to enjoy a meal or sniff anything other than ‘rotten plastic’ for seven months
She says all food tastes like bland rubber in her mouth and she can take no joy in eating.
Marta only suffered mild symptoms of Covid-19 – such as a temperature and fatigue – when she contracted the virus.
She realised her sense of taste was gone when she began tucking into a bowl of yogurt, granola and raisins and that she couldn’t smell anything despite not having a blocked nose.
The 21-year-old dreams of tasting her favourite cookie dough dessert from Bella Italia again, or enjoying a traditional meal cooked by her grandparents – but fears her senses may not return.
She says all food tastes like bland rubber in her mouth and she can take no joy in eating – eating out of necessity as opposed to enjoying her food
She lost her sense of smell and taste in March, along with other symptoms such as a temperature and fatigue
‘It’s awful and sometimes I can’t go to sleep because I’m thinking about it and I get really anxious,’ Marta said.
What is anosmia?
Changes in sense of smell are most often caused by cold or flu, sinusitis, an allergy such as hay fever, or growths in the nose.
It may go back to normal within a few weeks or even months.
Rinsing the inside of your nose with a salt water solution may help if your sense of smell is affected by an infection or allergy.
Steroid nasal sprays or drops might help if you have sinusitis or nasal polyps.
Sometimes changes in sense of smell can’t be treated and may be permanent.
‘I feel like I’m in a bubble and I can’t be inserted into the world.
‘I can only smell really strong things and they are rotten, I’m losing weight because food makes me sick, I’m losing hope.
‘Not being able to taste is awful because what are you going to eat?
‘I lost so much weight because there is no pleasure in eating, you’re only feeling the texture of the food but nothing else.
‘I’m definitely feeling more anxious, also, since I’m really thin right now. I have been struggling about body image because I look in the mirror and don’t want to look like this, so that’s definitely affected my mental health.
‘Not being able to go out with friends for drinks or dinner is really awful because if I taste something it tastes horrible, so I have to eat because I have to, not because I enjoy it
The loss of taste and smell wasn’t recognised as one of the main symptoms of Covid-19 in the UK until May, but Marta got a test anyway and realised she had Covid-19.
Since June, Marta – originally from Lisbon, Portugal – has been able to smell certain strong scents like perfume – but they are like ‘awful rotten plastic’ in her nostrils.
It was not until she began tucking into a bowl of yoghurt and granola that she suddenly noticed her sense of taste had disappeared and that she could not smell anything despite not having a blocked nose
She worries her sense may never return and dreams of the day she will be able to taste her favourite cookie dough dessert from Bella Italia again
But she joked that losing her taste helped her scoff healthy grub she’d usually turn her nose up at.
The drama student – who goes to the University of West London, added: ‘I’m a person who doesn’t eat fruit or vegetables so in the beginning when I didn’t have any taste I took advantage of it and started making these green juices with as many fruit and vegetables as I could get.’
The NHS says people with a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a change to their sense of smell or taste, should get a Covid-19 test and stay at home until the result arrives.
The young woman said she feels extremely anxious when she thinks about her loss of senses and claims it sometimes keeps her up at night thinking about it
Not taking any pleasure in what she ate, she lost a lot of weight and was about to munch on a range of fruit and vegetables that previously she would have refused to eat