Teenagers and young adults who have contracted the novel coronavirus have turned to social media to share their experience with a specific symptom – loss of taste.
Some have even turned to platforms like TikTok to document this lost or hindered sense with video taste tests, according to the New York Post.
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Shannon Roche, 25, realized she lost her sense of taste when she bit into a sour cream and onion chip over the summer.
“After realizing I couldn’t taste it, I went and sprayed myself with perfume to see if I can smell that and when I couldn’t smell anything, I knew I had COVID and that’s when I went to get tested,” she told Fox News. By July 8, she received her confirmed diagnosis and was able to piece together that she caught it from her roommate.
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The discovery led Roche and her roommate to TikTok, where they posted videos of themselves taste-testing different foods to see the extent of their symptoms. The pair’s first video has garnered more than 180,500 views and shows Roche testing her taste buds against vodka, soy sauce, ginger and turmeric wellness shot, hot sauce and lime.
Roche and her roommate also performed blindfolded tests where they attempted to guess what foods they were tasting.
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TikTok user Shannon Roche and her roommate tested positive for COVID-19 and conducted taste tests with various foods. (Shannon Roche)
Similarly, 19-year-old Cammie Cooke made a “COVID food review” TikTok video after she found out about her own diagnosis in late August.
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“I saw other people doing the taste-test trend on TikTok, and I thought it’d be fun to do with my loss of taste and smell in quarantine,” she told Fox News when asked if coronavirus taste tests were trendy among her age group. “Since I could not leave my apartment, I had to keep myself entertained in some way, and the taste-test trend did just the trick!”
Cooke’s single video has since racked up 10,100 views and shows the Auburn University student sampling shots of Texas Pete Hot Sauce, el Jimador Tequila, apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of minced garlic.
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And it’s not just TikTok users who are fascinated with the early coronavirus symptom to make posts about it. YouTube videos on the topic date as far back as March, which range from sit-down talk-throughs and ASMR-style taste tests.
TikTok user Cammie Cooke poses with garlic, apple cider vinegar and hot sauce for her COVID food review. (Cammie Cooke)
Not being able to taste food or smell are said to be possible symptoms that could appear two to 14 days after a person is exposed to the virus, according to the CDC.
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Dr. Zara Patel, an associate professor of otolaryngology at Stanford Medicine, says loss of taste and smell occurs because viruses like COVID-19 target cranial nerves or mucosal tissue, which are essential for these critical senses.