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What's causing the yucky taste?
July 4, 2008 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I have a cold, and my mouth tastes yucky. What specifically is happening?

While having this mild chest cold, my mouth tastes like sour dirty socks, with a flavor of what's coming up in my chest and very magnified by whatever I've just eaten. (Throat a bit sore, but not too bad; no other symptoms.) What is the connection between the virus causing the cold and the taste buds/olfactory nerves acting weird? What is going on here physiologically/anatomically?

(With some colds I get a metallic taste, but not this one; the sourness seems to be the overriding distinction.)
posted by Melismata to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I had a chest infection a year and a half ago and the phlegm I was coughing up had an extremely foul, bitter taste that I couldn't wash out or get out of my mouth. I talked to my doctor/father and he said that sometimes that's what happens. I don't know if that is what happening to you though...
posted by gwenlister at 8:40 AM on July 4, 2008


I had a weird taste in my mouth a few days before getting Bell's Palsy.
(which was cured with sublingual B12 methylcobalamin supplements).
posted by Menomena at 8:55 AM on July 4, 2008


Any sinus pressure or pain? The sore throat and foul taste could be the result of bacteria laden mucus dripping out of infected sinuses and down your throat.
posted by mollweide at 10:00 AM on July 4, 2008


These gross things can get caught in the back of your tonsils when you are fighting some sort of disease and they smell and taste terrible. Otherwise I'd be suspecting post-nasal drip and your clogged nose making tasting work funny. This essay has a little more information on how tasting actually works which you might find interesting. One notable line "Much of what we commonly refer to as "flavor" is actually a combination of smell and taste, with taste most often assuming the secondary position."
posted by jessamyn at 10:07 AM on July 4, 2008


Do you have mucus running down the back of your throat? You might not have a runny nose, just a clogged up head and a desire to clear your throat a lot. If so, yeah, you are tasting your own nasty mucus. Enjoy!
posted by MadamM at 3:44 PM on July 4, 2008


It's evil nasty mucous, as mentioned above. To get rid of it, try a nasal irrigation device - I use this.
posted by minus zero at 5:24 PM on July 4, 2008


Once my boss had these this along with what appeared to be a terrible cold that lasted forever, and would get somewhat better for a few days and then get worst again. He ended up passing it around to everyone in the lab. He finally described the symptoms the right way to the right doctor, and she diagnosed him with a mycoplasma infection. She prescribed him a particular antibiotic and it went away finally pretty fast.
posted by sevenless at 11:59 PM on July 4, 2008


Don't know why it happens. When I have a cold, or maybe starting one, I frequently wash my mouth and throat with juice. For whatever reason, peach (in the States, it's called "Peach Nectar") seems to work the best.
posted by Goofyy at 5:15 AM on July 8, 2008


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