Long COVID Sufferer Who Says Everything Tastes of Roadkill Urges People to Get Shots

An Arkansas woman with long COVID has urged people to get vaccinated after the condition distorted her senses, making everything taste and smell of roadkill and rotting meat.

Courtney Speyer caught COVID around Thanksgiving time in 2020, before vaccines were available, News4Antonio reported.

Speyer said her initial symptoms were "relatively mild" when compared with some COVID patients. She lost her sense of smell and taste for four months, developed a cough that lasted two months, and experienced extreme fatigue. She also found herself muddling her words.

When her smell and taste came back, everything tasted like raw garlic or raw onion, before her conditions worsened a couple of months later.

Speyer told News4Antonio food tasted "kind of like a roadkill... for lack of better words, everything tastes and smells like rancid meat."

Now, she struggles to keep food down and feels full after three or four bites. Speyer has lost 25 pounds in two months, and weighs 80 pounds, standing at 4'9" tall.

Speyer, who works at a pharmacy, urged those who have not yet been vaccinated to get their shots to protect themselves and others against COVID.

Last week she encountered people getting vaccinated "because they lost three of their neighbors, their next-door neighbors, the whole family died," she said. "That's what it took to get them in here, was watching three of their best friends pass away."

Familiar things suddenly smelling unpleasant is known as parosmia, and happens when smell receptors in the nose stop transmitting information correctly. It can happen after a person has an upper respiratory infection, such as COVID or a cold. Other causes include injuries, sinus infections, seizures, brain tumors, dry mouth, as well as some drugs and toxins.

A woman named Chanda Drew spoke of similar experiences to Newsweek in November, describing how she lost her sense of smell. When she regained it, she smelled burnt toast, then burning French fry grease, and most recently rotting meat.

Drew said: "The only way I can describe it is that one day I woke up and coffee smelt rancid. Everything from chocolate to cucumbers, herbs, and fresh-cut grass, they all started smelling and tasting different, and not in a good way. Most times I have to bite something and wait, and either spit it out or continue to power through it."

Speyer said of her condition: "This is not something that people really talk about; this isn't something that they tell you about. You hear that you can lose your taste and smell, but this is so much worse."

raw meat, stock, getty
A stock image shows raw meat. Getty Images