Health Care

Loss of smell, taste, might signal pandemic virus infection

Loss of smell, taste, might signal pandemic virus infection”

In the most severe instances, those afflicted have reported confusion or difficulty breathing, and sometimes, anxiety is the most prevailing symptom of all.

Doctors and researchers still have much to learn about the exact symptoms caused by COVID-19, but a group of ear, nose and throat doctors now suspect two such symptoms may be an altered sense of taste, called dysgeusia, and a loss of smell, known as anosmia.

For most of us, symptoms of Covid-19 may already be something that we are pretty familiar with, given the frequency by which we are reminded of them in the news.

However, the preliminary, and still relatively anecdotal, observation is not officially recognized as a COVID-19 symptom by the World Health Organization at this stage. The sense typically returns, said Dr. Raj Sindwani, head of rhinology and sinus surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, who specializes in nasal and nose problems. There, she observed ENT UK's reporting a surge of reported anosmia across their patients, and even among themselves. In Germany, they wrote, more than two-thirds of confirmed coronavirus cases included anosmia. In their statement, Hopkins and Kumar highlighted four patients they had seen, all under 40, who had reported sudden anosmia in the last week. Encourage them to self-isolate for at least seven days.

Impairment of our sense of smell is a common symptom of having a viral infection, such as a cold or influenza, because these viruses invade our upper respiratory tract and cause damage to the olfactory receptor neurons that enable us to smell. But Hopkins raised concern at the number of COVID-19 patients who were otherwise asymptomatic. She pointed to guidance in the United States and Britain that instructs people to self-isolate if they are experiencing obvious coronavirus symptoms. This could represent a potential source of asymptomatic carriers who could be at risk of unknowingly infecting others. "If someone says yes, it would definitely make me more suspicious that they need further work-up". Being informed of these warning signs gives us an opportunity to capture those individuals who might be silent spreaders of the deadly COVID-19.

Additionally, the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) recently proposed adding anosmia to the list of COVID-19 screening tools.

A growing volume of medical experts around the world are suggesting a loss of the sense of smell may be an early indication of COVID-19.

It is important to note that a reduction in one's sense of smell is a relatively common symptom associated with a number of viral and bacterial infections, from the flu to sinusitis.

He believes patients who display a sudden loss of smell or taste could have the coronavirus without realising it, even if they don't display a high temperature or a continuous new cough, which are the primary indicators of infection.

How long will you lose your sense of smell?

"Somebody who has had a loss of smell over the past year, that is not what we are talking about", said Dr. Peter Zonakis an otolaryngologist at Grand River Health.

"On one end, it would be nice to have a good study. On the other hand, it's about not spreading the virus", he said. "That's the other side of the coin".

Here's a clue that you may have coronavirus that might surprise you: a loss of your sense of smell.

"Without adequate testing, I don't think you can know for sure", Verret added. "This is dry cough, and this is shortage of breath", said Van Kerkhove, adding that aches and pains and headaches were also found.

Our I-Team found another coronavirus patient - a 26-year-old yoga teacher - hospitalized in NY that experienced the same symptom.

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