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When you can't smell the holidays coming

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Exterior of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, dedicated to research on the senses of taste and smell. Sculpture by Arlene Love. Photo provided by Monell Center.

Pumpkin spice latte, roasting turkey, butter-drenched stuffing! Holiday smells conjure memories. But for people experiencing side effects of Covid-19, a sense of smell can suddenly be non-existent, or even repulsive.

Dr. Danielle Reed of the Monell Chemical Senses Center describes how smell works, why it affects taste and what can go awry.

Then we meet Kim Minton and Cristen Scifo. They’ve been coping with loss or distortion of smell and taste for more than a year. Its effects can be frustrating, depressing and confounding. Cristen says:

“The cravings for food don’t go away. I crave Chinese food like once or twice a week. Can I have it? No absolutely not. Because I take one smell of it, and it’s repulsive. And that’s something I used to love.”

Links: Monell Chemical Senses Center, Anosmia recipes. AJ+ video describing loss of smell.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'