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What’s Behind COVID Taste Change?

Woman with ice cream but no COVID taste

What’s Behind COVID Taste Change?

When people become sick with COVID-19, one of the common symptoms they may experience is a loss of taste or smell. This can be a frustrating and distressing symptom for many individuals, as it can make it difficult to enjoy food and drink.


Not only is the loss of taste disorienting, but you might be worried about the underlying cause. Has COVID affected other neurotransmitters or organs in the body. Today, GatherWell is going to shed some light on why some people experience COVID taste change.


What Causes COVID Taste Change?

The exact cause of this symptom is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the virus’s ability to infect the cells in the nose and mouth. The virus primarily targets the respiratory system, but it can also affect the olfactory receptors in the nose and taste receptors in the mouth. This results in damage to these receptors, leading to taste changes from COVID.


In addition to the direct damage caused by the virus, loss of taste and smell can also be a result of the body’s immune response to the infection. The immune system releases chemicals called cytokines, which can cause inflammation in the nasal passages and mouth. This inflammation can further damage the receptors responsible for taste and smell.


Do Other Diseases Cause Loss of Taste?

The loss of taste and smell has been seen in other viral infections such as the common cold and flu, which suggests that taste changes aren’t unique to COVID-19. However, the severity and duration of taste changes in COVID patients may be more pronounced. Due to the phenomenon of “long COVID,” you might be without taste for a few days or a few weeks. 


While COVID-19 taste changes are a common symptom, they are not always present in every case. Some people may experience a mild loss of taste and smell, while others may have a severe loss that lasts for several weeks or months.


Of course, loss of taste can be caused by a number of issues not related to viral infections. For example, you may lose your sense of taste due to:

  • radiation therapy to the head and neck
  • smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • aging
  • certain medical conditions (such as diabetes, hypertension, and nutritional deficiencies)
  • nerve damage or injury to the head or neck
  • certain types of chemicals or toxins
  • certain types of cancer (such as head and neck cancer)

It’s important to note that loss of taste can be a symptom of a serious condition, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience a sudden or unexplained change in your sense of taste.


When Will I Regain My Taste After Being Infected by COVID?

In most cases, the loss of taste and smell will improve with time as the body fights off the infection and repairs the damaged receptors. There aren’t many reputable “tricks” for getting your taste back sooner, so patience is key. Some people may experience a permanent loss of taste and smell, and if that happens, we recommend speaking with a specialist like an ENT or an oral medicine practitioner.


If you are experiencing taste changes due to COVID-19, it is important to stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need. If the loss persists, it is recommended to consult a doctor.


Have You Lost Your Sense of Taste and Have Flu-like Symptoms? Get Tested

Taste change is a common symptom of COVID-19, and it can be caused by the virus’s ability to infect the cells in the nose and mouth. It can also be caused by the body’s immune response to the infection. In most cases, the loss of taste and smell will improve with time, but it can be permanent in some cases.


If you’ve just started noticing a lack of taste, then you should get tested for COVID as soon as possible. For same-day COVID testing that’s incredibly convenient, come to GatherWell. We can schedule a test quickly and get you results within an hour.


With a positive COVID test, you can then bring that result to your primary care physician who can recommend treatment and help you recover your sense of taste.


Our offices are located throughout the Twin Cities area. Please choose between our Ham Lake, Edina, and Elk River locations – whichever is most convenient for you! To get started, please click the blue button above. Or learn more about COVID testing in Minneapolis