Fact or Fiction: Does TikTok remedy actually bring back taste, smell after COVID?

Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A remedy challenge is going viral on social media and it claims a charred orange, mixed with brown sugar, can help people who have contracted COVID-19 get their taste and smell back.

Millions of people have viewed it, hundreds of people have tried it, but does the old Jamaican remedy it actually work?

“I mean it sounds delicious,” Roper St. Francis Chief Medical Officer for Ambulatory Care and Population Health Dr. Robert Oliverio says. “But, scientifically, there’s really no basis for that.”

Oliverio says when it comes to COVID-19, the virus doesn’t actually kill or affect the nerves that provide smell.

“It looks like the COVID virus attacks the nasal mucosal or the nasal epithelium – the cells that are around the nerves,” Oliverio says. “So that kind of inflammation, and that kind of effect, decreases the ability to smell. That’s really what happens – at least that’s what we think is going on.”

But reports have come in about some crazy things happening – like a woman who says the smell of buttery popcorn turned into rotting pumpkins.

“People are describing everything smells funny or fishy or just wrong,” Dr. Oliverio says. “That’s something we know. We don’t know how to take care of that as of yet or how to fix that.”

So, according to Dr. Oliverio, that fact is the charred orange concoction is fiction.

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