Bay Area baker still has no taste, smell months after having COVID-19

BENICIA, Calif. (KRON) – “Some things I can taste, like raspberries have been raspberries from the very beginning but onions and garlic taste like burning wood logs everything is messed up in my brain,” Hannalee Pervan said. 

For some people, coronavirus symptoms can last weeks or even months.

These patients are called long haulers.

According to a recent study, they experience fatigue, headaches, and hair loss. Like one business owner that KRON4 spoke to, she still has no taste or smells even after seven months.

“I remember sitting in my bedroom and I couldn’t smell or taste anything and I was like wow this is actually happening,” Hannalee Pervan said. 

More than seven and a half months ago, Hannalee Pervan tested positive for COVID. She lost her sense of taste and smell.

A difficult symptom to swallow as a head baker and co-owner of a restaurant.

“Everything tasted wrong, everything tasted like burning and like trash and like apples tasted like peaches, the connections weren’t right, in my brain hasn’t really been getting any better,” Pervan said. 

Pervan works at One House Bakery in Benicia. She’s one of many people who have tested positive for COVID who are now being called “long haulers.”

While it’s all still being studied, research suggests about 1 in 3 adults who get coronavirus have symptoms that last more than two weeks.

Even people who only get mild sickness and don’t need to be hospitalized, report feeling side effects and symptoms long after they’re free of the virus.

“Sometimes those wires do get crossed, people can get what is called phantom smelling where you smell things that are really not there lots of strange things with this virus,” Dr. John Swartzberg said. 

The study, published in Nature’s Scientific, reports fatigue, headaches, attention disorder, hair loss and loss of taste and smell as the top five most common long-term side effects.

As for Pervan, she says she’s trying to stay positive but it’s been difficult.

Food is her happiness, her joy, her career.

“It’s been very challenging, very difficult trying to bake and to cook without being able to taste if there’s acid or salt in certain products,” Pervan said.

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