Since the initial wave of COVID-19 cases in the US and Italy, the idea that a loss of smell could be an early symptom has been mentioned. A new study has found that this could really be the case.
The study examined over a thousand patients with undiagnosed flu-like symptoms. Those that lost their sense of smell and taste had a 10-fold greater chance of testing positive for the coronavirus.
“The most common first sign of a COVID-19 infection remains fever, but fatigue and loss of smell and taste follow as other very common initial symptoms,” said otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon Carol Yan from the University of California San Diego.
This change isn’t permanent however, as those who lost their senses usually regained them within two to four weeks of infections.
“Among the COVID-19 patients with smell loss, more than 70 percent had reported improvement of smell at the time of survey and of those who hadn’t reported improvement, many had only been diagnosed recently,” said Yan.
This means that a loss of smell or taste could prove to be another screening symptom fro the virus.
The study deviated from others as it used patients who were not severely ill.
“It is our hope that with these findings other institutions will follow suit and not only list smell and taste loss as a symptom of COVID-19, but use it as a screening measure for the virus across the world,” said Yan.