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Parosmia is a disorder characterized by a change in the perception of odors. Most often, the smells are unpleasant, like hand soap smelling like dead bodies and the outdoors like sewage. This odd distortion of scent is being seen in a growing number of people who have contracted COVID-19, lost their sense of smell and taste, and recovered from the virus but never fully regained their sense of smell again, says Dr. Jennifer Grayson, director of otolaryngology research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Parosmia is not classified as a long-haul symptom of COVID. It's more of a complicating and potentially permanent factor of COVID," she says. Parosmia is closely related to phantosmia, an olfactory hallucination characterized by smelling something that isn't there, such as smelling smoke when there's nothing burning, Grayson says. It can also be intertwined with a distorted sense of taste known as dysgeusia. For example, a member of a Parosmia/Post-COVID Facebook group described toothpaste tasting like "how a landfill smells." These odd odors and tastes are described by other Facebook group members as "dumpster juice," "hot garbage," "potting soil," "rotting flesh" and "dog." They can greatly diminish quality of life. Eating becomes excruciating difficult, as most things that tasted pleasant before they developed parosmia suddenly cause sufferers to gag or vomit. Because parosmia can linger for months, many of these individuals lose weight and some become depressed and hopeless for fear they will never regain their sense of smell and taste.