Mercer County woman dealing with altered taste, smell, months after COVID case

She’s now longer to connect with groups running studies on long-term COVID symptoms as well as groups studying long-term effects of the virus
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Kelly Shonts was one of millions of Americans to contract COVID-19 back in December and didn’t think much of her mild case at the time.

“I did lose my smell and taste for about three to four weeks then everything came back and was fine I had no other underlying symptoms, I didn’t have any respiratory issues, breathing issues,” Shonts said.

But a couple of months later, her taste and smell took a turn for the worse.

“At the end of February, I noticed the smells of things started to change,” Shonts said, “At first it was the smell and taste of coffee and then my toothpaste, my toothpaste tasted horrific.”

Now, her taste and smell have become ravaged.

“There are three very distinct smells, one is a very kind of sweet, metallic fecal type matter. Another one is a heavy, chemical perfume smell taste, and the other is, I would identify probably close to it is maybe like a moldy towel,” Shonts said.

And only three different food items haven’t become warped in taste.

“There are three things that taste just fine to me and it’s red grapes, marshmallows, and raspberry Jell-O,” Shonts said.

The most challenging part, as Shonts perseveres, is how food and smells change.

“I keep trying things and pushing things because it will alter. I had milk, and I was ok with milk and cheese and now I cannot eat milk or cheese,” She said.

Another burden from the newfound challenges is the mental and social impact.

“At first I didn’t do a whole lot, socially I didn’t really go out or meet with any of my friends but that had an impact on me,” she said, “I was finding myself very down and crying a lot.”

“I can’t really go out to eat anywhere because the smells inside the restaurant are so overwhelming,” Shonts added.

Now Shonts is looking to connect with other QC residents with similar experiences as well as with any groups doing studies on long-term COVID effects. YOu can contact Shonts’ email at

“If there was some sort of connection I could get with other people or with a study I would really, really love to be involved in a medical study,” Shonts said.

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