Sunday 20 September 2020 ,
Sunday 20 September 2020 ,
Latest News
30 March, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 30 March, 2020 12:36:13 AM

Coronavirus patients, doctors seem to be temporarily losing their sense of taste and smell — here’s why

Yahoo Lifestyle
Coronavirus patients, doctors seem to be temporarily losing their sense of taste and smell — here’s why

ABBY HAGLAGE

Healthcare workers wait for people to arrive at a COVID-19 mobile testing site in Florida. New reports from the UK show that both doctors and patients with exposure to the coronavirus are temporarily losing their sense of smell and taste.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, now topping 370,000 cases worldwide, mentions of a previously unknown symptom of COVID-19 — loss of smell — are gaining traction. “Haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days,” tweeted Rudy Gobert, a player of the Utah Jazz who was the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus 11 days ago. “Anyone experiencing the same thing?

According to a paper published Friday by Claire Hopkins, PhD, a professor of rhinology at King’s College London, Gobert is far from alone. “There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia [loss of smell] in the absence of other symptoms,” Hopkins writes in the paper, published by UK ENT (a medical society of ear nose and throat doctors). “This has been widely shared on medical discussion boards by surgeons from all regions...”
Hopkins adds that while early warnings did not mention anosmia as a symptom of the virus, many countries are now reporting it in their patients, including South Korea, China and Italy. In Germany, doctors are reporting than “2 in 3 confirmed cases” of COVID-19 present with anosmia.

Not everyone is ready to declare loss of smell and taste a symptom of COVID-19 at this point. At a press conference Monday morning, the World Health Organization said it had yet to verify the theory. “We've seen quite a few reports about people in the early stages of the disease [that] may lose the sense of smell, may lose the sense of taste," said Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, part of the WHO's health emergencies program. "But this is something that we need to look into to really capture if this is one of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19."

Still, in an email to Yahoo Lifestyle, Hopkins says that the reports about the loss of smell as a symptom have not only been shared on medical boards but also “closed social media groups for doctors to share experiences of COVID-19.” On one, Hopkins says an Italian doctor shared that “he and many of his colleagues had lost their sense of smell while working in northern Italy dealing with COVID-19 patients.”
After seeing other reports of the symptoms, Hopkins decided to publish what she and others had found. “I saw so many patients last week who had not been picked up by our hospital screenings questions,” Hopkins tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors are now expressing concern that if more healthcare workers and patients are not made aware of these new symptoms, many more cases could go undetected.
In the spirit of staying safe, here’s what you need to know.

Those with loss of smell/taste could be asymptomatic carriers
While more research is needed to determine exactly how common it is to experience loss of smell and taste, Hopkins notes that most people with those symptoms had few others, meaning they could be unknowingly passing COVID-19 on. “There is potential that if any adult with anosmia but no other symptoms was asked to self isolate for seven days, in addition to the current symptom criteria used to trigger quarantine, we might be able to reduce the number of otherwise asymptomatic individuals who continue to act as vectors,” Hopkins writes in the paper. “It will also be an important trigger for healthcare personnel to employ full PPE [personal protective equipment]...”

Both symptoms are common, and often caused by inflammation
It may seem alarming to imagine losing the sense of smell and taste, but both symptoms occur frequently and are most often temporary. “Post-viral loss of smell is quite common — occurring with a common cold and affecting up to 300,000 patients a year in the UK,” Hopkins tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “There is a good chance of recovery with reports from Italy matching the experience of my patients and affected colleagues that recovery often starts within 2 weeks.”

Hopkins says the symptoms were surprising given that COVID-19 does not seem to produce “nasal blockage or runny nose,” but those aren’t necessarily required to hinder those senses. William Schaffner, PhD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, has one theory. “This [has to do with] an area back behind the nose where the virus lurks,” says Schaffner. “So I would think this has to do with some sort of local inflammatory response.”

Sense of smell and sense of taste are intertwined
Although Hopkins’ paper focuses primarily on the loss of sense of smell, previous research has shown that loss of taste is deeply connected to smell. Schaffner affirms that the two work in tandem. “We’ve been getting lots of reports of loss of taste. Most people don’t realize that their sense of taste is largely controlled by their sense of smell,” Schaffner tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “So if you lose your sense of smell, you also lose much of your sense of taste.”

The symptom probably isn’t new; doctors just may have missed it
For those with fears that the new symptoms signal a mutated virus, Schaffner says there’s another explanation. “This is more likely something that [had] not come to attention sufficiently to be reported,” Schaffner tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The average doctor — including infectious disease doctors — if we’re taking care of patients who have respiratory infections will not proactively ask about your sense of smell, it just doesn’t occur to ask that. Unless the patient volunteers it, we won’t know about it.”

If you experience loss of taste/smell and feel OK, stay home
Now that both anecdotal and medical reports have found the symptoms to be associated with COVID-19, Hopkins and Schaffner say that anyone experiencing those should self-isolate. “If you suddenly lose your sense of smell and taste you may be positive, that’s the message,” says Schaffner. “So stay away from others because you could be positive even if you don’t have other symptoms.”

 

Comments

Most Viewed
Digital Edition
More story
Editor Speaks

Editor Speaks

Tuberculosis is an age old disease and first spread probably 8000 years back. Killer T.B was described in India 3000 B.C. Mummified bodies of Egypt have…
World Tuberculosis Day 2020

World Tuberculosis Day 2020

Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences…
Tuberculosis (TB): Symptoms, causes & treatment

Tuberculosis (TB): Symptoms, causes & treatment

What is Tuberculosis? Tuberculosis -- or TB, as it’s commonly called -- is a contagious infection that usually attacks your lungs. It can spread…
WHO on Tuberculosis

WHO on Tuberculosis

Key facts •    A total of 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018 (including 251 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is one of the…
Hearing loss screening for patients with TB and diabetes urged

Hearing loss screening for patients with TB and diabetes urged

MUHAMAMD ZAHIR HASSAN NABIL On this World Tuberculosis Day, Bangladesh remains one of 30 high TB and MDR-TB burden countries with 221 people affected…
Autism rates declining among wealthy whites, escalating among poor

Autism rates declining among wealthy whites, escalating among poor

Wealthy, white California counties—once considered the nation's hotbeds for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) - have seen prevalence flatten or…
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COLLEEN DOHERTY, MD   The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, a common family of viruses, which surfaced…
10 common health conditions that may increase risk of death from the coronavirus, including diabetes and heart disease

10 common health conditions that may increase risk of death from the coronavirus, including diabetes and heart disease

According to a report on patient characteristics from Italy's National Institute of Health released on March 17, 99% of COVID-19 patients who have…
Coronavirus: Doctors urge conversations about dying

Coronavirus: Doctors urge conversations about dying

DR FAYE KIRKLAND Palliative care doctors are urging people to have a conversation about what they would want if they, or their loved ones, became seriously…
What does a self-quarantine look like?

What does a self-quarantine look like?

Many peoples are choosing -- or have been told -- to self-quarantine to slow the spread of COVID-19. Doctors at the University of Texas Health Science…
ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may increase the risk of severe COVID-19

ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may increase the risk of severe COVID-19

James Diaz, MD, MHA, MPH & TM, Dr. PH, Professor and Head of Environmental Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has…
FDA approves Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) for the acute treatment of migraine in adults

FDA approves Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) for the acute treatment of migraine in adults

Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd. recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Nurtec ODT (rimegepant)…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting