May 18, 2022

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COVID-19: ‘Fussy eaters’ may have a scent and taste issue

Experts believe that “picky eaters” in children may be suffering from post-Covid smell and taste conditions.

In adults who have used Covid, parosmia, a symptom in which people report unusual smell distortions, is a well-documented adverse effect.

A guide to recognising it in children has been developed by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the charity Fifth Sense.

Prof. Carl Philpott of the University of East Anglia stated, “I expect there are a lot of parents at their wits’ end and extremely anxious.”

Food with an unpleasant odour or taste, such as decaying meat or chemicals, can cause the illness, which he said afflicted an estimated 25,000 individuals as a result of Covid.

For the first time in his career, Prof Philpott, a rhinologist and olfactologist at the university’s medical school in Norwich, said that for the first time in his career, he was seeing young patients with parosmia.

“It’s something that medical professionals haven’t recognised until now,” he added. “They just think the kids are picky eaters without realising the underlying problem.”

Fifth Sense, a charity for adults with smell and taste issues, said it had received anecdotal evidence that youngsters were having difficulty eating following Covid.

Some parents have told us that their children are having nutritional issues and are losing weight, but doctors have attributed this to0 fussy eating. We’d like to share more information about this issue with the medical community so that they’re aware that there’s a larger issue at hand, “he stated.

Prof. Philpott and Fifth Sense collaborated on the booklet, which demonstrates how parents can help by keeping a food diary of safe and trigger foods.

Children should be encouraged to sample blander foods to discover what they can handle or enjoy, as well as to use a soft nose clip to filter off flavours while eating.

To promote recuperation, the guide recommends using a basic “smell training” strategy that involves inhaling at least four different odours twice a day for several months.