Why water doesn't taste the same when you're sick

Drink plenty of fluids! This is a popular and essential piece of advice when it comes to feeling under the weather, mainly because dehydration can occur from sweating, urinating, and decreased food intake (via Health Central). James Thompson, M.D., tells Health Central that replenishing fluids is one of the most important things you can do when sick, and choosing water to hydrate is at the top of his list. But what if you just can't stomach the taste of water while you are ill? And more concerning, why does the water taste different?

Internist Niket Sonpal tells Bustle"Having a cold or bad allergies can change your sense of taste," and this can be from the post nasal drip mixing with saliva, which causes a salty flavor. He goes on to say there is a protein that is released when you are sick, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which affects your taste buds, making foods taste bitter and unpleasant. According to the National Institutes of Health, water may also taste different when you are sick due to your sense of smell being off, as the taste and smell senses are so closely connected.

Could losing your sense of taste be cause for concern?

Having your taste buds change with your sinus and allergy issues can be a real nuisance, but in most cases, the changes are temporary and treatable at home (via Healthline). Like water, homemade soups and hot teas may have an altered taste but are helpful during this time as they provide hydration, may help calm the sinuses, and can even help with loosening mucus.

Congestion, however, isn't the only reason your water might taste strange. According to Healthline, there could be a more serious reason for your taste buds troubles such as bacterial infections, nerve damage, nutrient deficiencies, and underlying medical conditions. In fact, every year more than 200,000 Americans see a doctor regarding their changes in taste and smell, making this phenomenon not so uncommon (via Medical News Today). If you are experiencing unexplained taste changes or loss, be proactive and visit your doctor.