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COVID-19 Symptom: Metallic Taste

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on


  • A metallic taste is a possible symptom of COVID-19, usually accompanied by a decreased sense of smell and other symptoms.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral treatments can also cause a metallic taste as a side effect.
  • In rare instances, a metallic taste can persist long after the virus has cleared. 
  • Other factors can cause you to experience a metallic taste in the mouth, such as gum disease, sinus infections, medication, and cancer treatment.

A metallic taste is one of the possible symptoms of COVID-19, even though it’s not a frequent complaint. To verify a metallic taste is caused by the coronavirus, it’s essential to look at other symptoms that may be present and other possible causes. Your doctor may recommend you to get tested for COVID-19.

What does a metallic taste with COVID feel like?

A metallic taste in the mouth is one of the most frequent alterations in taste that you might experience if you have COVID-19. This metallic taste is often compared to the taste of nickels. If you have COVID-19, you might also experience a bitter, salty, or sweet flavor without any obvious cause. Apart from these changes in taste, you can also experience a complete loss or a decreased sense of taste, making food taste bland or like nothing. A metallic taste in the mouth usually doesn’t appear as the only symptom of a COVID-19 infection. It’s often accompanied by other symptoms such as a loss of smell, a cough, a headache, or a sore throat.

It’s important to watch for changes in taste, as a sudden loss or change in taste is one of the most frequent early symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. Research suggests that the reason why COVID-19 causes taste alterations is the presence of ACE2 receptors in the mouth and on the tongue. These receptors are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. However, data on this topic is minimal, so further research is needed. 1 2 3

Find more information about COVID-19 symptoms and tongue sores here.

Can a metallic taste be caused by the COVID vaccine?

A metallic taste in the mouth can also be due to the COVID-19 vaccine, as this is a known side effect caused by vaccines for a small number of people. If the metallic taste occurs immediately after being vaccinated and your sense of smell is still intact, then it’s most probably a side effect of the vaccination. However, if the metallic taste turns up days later, it might be a sign of an infection with the coronavirus. 4 5

The metallic taste can also be due to a COVID-19 antiviral treatment with Ritonavir-Boosted Nirmatrelvir, which is currently on sale as Paxlovid. This side effect, sometimes called a “Paxlovid mouth,” should go away on its own once treatment is finished. If the change in taste persists, you should contact your doctor. 6

How long does a metallic taste with COVID-19 last?

The metallic taste usually goes away independently without any treatment once the infection is cleared. If the metallic taste doesn’t go away, you should contact your doctor, as there have been cases reported where the metallic taste remains after COVID-19 as one of the symptoms of long COVID. 7

What else can cause a metallic taste?

A COVID-19 infection doesn’t always cause a metallic taste in the mouth. There are many other possible causes for this symptom, such as: 7

  • Gum disease
  • Common cold
  • Sinus infections
  • Airway infections
  • Indigestion
  • Being pregnant
  • Taking medication such as metronidazole
  • Cancer treatment 

If your doctor suspects that a COVID-19 infection could cause the metallic taste, you'll be recommended to take a COVID-19 test.

How can you treat a metallic taste if you have COVID?

A metallic taste caused by COVID-19 doesn’t need any specific treatment, as your normal sense of taste will usually return once the infection has cleared. However, if the change in taste remains after the infection has cleared, then it’s important to contact your doctor for further follow-up and treatment. There is no particular treatment regime for loss of taste, however current medical research suggests: 8 9 10

  • Ceasing the use of medication in case the medication causes the metallic taste. This should only be done after discussing this with your doctor.
  • Taking supplements such as zinc gluconate.
  • Using PDE-inhibitors, insulin, and corticosteroids may be promising for the management of COVID smell and taste loss, although more research is needed to confirm this.

Wrapping up

A metallic taste is a symptom that may occur if you’re infected with the coronavirus. The change in taste usually goes together with other symptoms, and in most cases, it also goes away without any treatment once the infection has been cleared. If the metallic taste does persist, you should contact your doctor for follow-up and treatment.


Q: Is a metallic taste a symptom of COVID?
A: A metallic taste can be a symptom of a COVID infection. Other symptoms of COVID-19 usually accompany it.

Q: How can you get rid of the metallic taste in your mouth from COVID?
A: To alleviate the metallic taste in the mouth caused by COVID-19, stay hydrated, practice good oral hygiene, and try different foods with strong flavors. Rinsing the mouth with a saline solution or taking an over-the-counter medication like zinc or vitamins may also help.

Q: Does COVID leave a bad taste in your mouth?
A: Yes, COVID-19 can leave a metallic taste in the mouth for some people as a symptom.

Q: Is it normal to have a horrible taste in your mouth after COVID?
A: It is not uncommon for some people who have had COVID-19 to experience a metallic or bitter taste in their mouth. This can be due to the virus affecting the sense of taste and smell, which can last for several weeks or even months after recovering from the illness. 

Q: How long after COVID will my taste return to normal?
A: The recovery period for the sense of taste and smell after COVID-19 can vary from person to person. Some people's sense of taste and smell may return to normal within a few weeks of recovery. However, for others, it may take several months to recover fully. In rare cases, the sense of taste and smell may not fully return at all.

Q: When should I be concerned about a metallic taste in my mouth?
A: While a metallic taste in the mouth is not usually a cause for concern, there are certain situations where it may be a symptom of an underlying condition or medical issue. You should be concerned about a metallic taste in your mouth if it’s persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. This could be a sign of an infection, allergies, or other underlying medical conditions such as liver or kidney problems.