Loss of smell may be early symptom of coronavirus

Coronavirus

In the most severe instances, those afflicted have reported confusion or difficulty breathing, and sometimes, anxiety is the most prevailing symptom of all. In a statement, they warned that adults experiencing recent anosmia could be unknown carriers of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"All of this evidence is accumulating very rapidly, but there's nothing yet robustly in print". Speaking to STATNews, rhinologist Eric Holbrook says this new observation should not be used as a single screening factor, but rather it can be incorporated into broader considerations when evaluating potentially infected patients.

Dr. D.J. Verret, a doctor who's board certified in otolaryngology, head and neck, and facial plastic surgery, told ABC News, "The sense of taste and smell are very closely related".

ENT UK is the website which represents ear, nose and throat medical practitioners in the United Kingdom. "I have personally seen four patients this week, all under 40, and otherwise asymptomatic except for the recent onset of anosmia - I usually see roughly no more than one a month".

In South Korea, some 30% of people who tested positive for the virus have cited loss of smell as their major complaint in otherwise mild cases, they wrote.

Official figures suggest the coronavirus has infected some 400,000 people as the pandemic proliferates around the world, but with many cases going undetected experts have become concerned about the potential for people without symptoms to spread the virus.

Two experts, Professor Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK and Professor Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society have released a statement that points out a sudden rise in cases of isolated anosmia in countries such as UK, US, France and Italy. But fewer know that a lost sense of smell and/or taste might also spell trouble. Encourage them to self-isolate for at least seven days.

Many viruses that cause common colds cause inflammation that can obstruct the nose, Barnes said.

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Robert, who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym, went to work on Monday, not knowing his loss of smell could indicate COVID-19.

It is important for people experiencing these symptoms to self-isolate themselves.

This means it could be a way for silent carriers to realize they could be carrying the virus and they can self-quarantine. If the patient undergoing the procedure sneezes or coughs, there is a high risk of viral spread to the physician performing the procedure.

A similar proposal was published this week by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The statement was based on multiple global reports that show anosmia is an early and significant sign of coronavirus patients. We propose that these symptoms be added to the list of screening tools for possible COVID-19 infection. 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.

Lost sense of smell may be a clue to infection with COVID-19, a group of doctors are recommending testing and isolating those who have recently lost their ability to smell and taste even if they have no other symptoms.

Obviously, if you yourself find that your sense of smell is missing or reduced, and that you can't taste your food or it tastes amusing or unpleasant, take immediate action to avoid infecting others.

The good news is that loss of taste and smell seem to mostly occur in mild cases, so that's actually an indicator that you might not be in danger.

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