'It's debilitating': Covid leaves mum able to eat only cheese sandwiches

A Birmingham mum says Coronavirus has left her unable to eat anything except cheese sandwiches and cereal.

In line with the normal covid symptoms, Clare Freer lost her taste and smell when she first had the disease in March.

But when her senses returned in May, Clare was left with a condition called parosmia, where everything smells strong and repulsive and leaves her close to vomiting.

She says it's made everything, including tap water, stink of wet dogs, stale perfume, burning or strong chemicals.

Since the summer, Clare has had to give up all of her favourite food and drink and instead live on a diet of cheese sandwiches and cereal.

She says: "I have cheese sandwiches every day for lunch, and I'll cut them up in triangles or squares, just for a bit of variety!"

Clare, who lives with her partner Andy, one of her daughters and her step-son, says it's made family meal times a nightmare.

She says she can't bear to be in the same room as her family when they're eating food and sometimes at tea time she gets so distressed she cries because she doesn't know what to cook for them.

Clare says the smell is so bad she doesn't know what she can cook for her family. Credit: ITV News

She adds: "At first I cooked normal meals for them - wearing a clip on my nose - but eventually I had to stop even that as it was making me ill."

The condition has left Clare battling with her mental health, terrified to leave the house in case she smells something that makes her sick.

The GP referred Clare for various tests- including an MRI on her brain and sinuses and a camera up her nose - which all came back negative.

She says she's certain that Covid was the cause and she has now found some solidarity with a group online, set up by the smell loss charity, AbScent.

All of the members say they started with loss of smell and taste after developing coronavirus and ended up with parosmia, where they describe what they smell as "rancid wet dog" or "hot soggy garbage".

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