Coronavirus: Loss of Smell, Taste Could Be Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection
According to the World Health Organization, fever, shortness of breath and dry cough are the primary COVID-19 symptoms. But are there other hidden symptoms or milder signs of infection that we may not know about yet?
Despite several studies being performed on the most current strain of coronavirus, COVID-19 is a relatively new disease and very little is known with regard to confirmed patterns present in the infection. This global pandemic has become a major concern all across the world with no known estimates as to when it will be done running its course.
The panic is real; however, we all need to maintain composure and keep following health directives and measures put in place to minimise our risk of contracting the infection. Additionally, as parents, we should also stay up to date on current findings of COVID-19, including some of the milder and hidden coronavirus symptoms that have been prevalent in some patients.
Hidden coronavirus symptoms
Lost sense of smell or taste
According to consultant otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon from the UK, Professor Nirmal Kumar, some younger patients may not necessarily present any of the key symptoms related to COVID-19.
It may even take a mere loss of the sense of smell, anosmia, and the sense of taste, ageusia, to indicate that someone is infected with the coronavirus. Many doctors have now raised a warning in this regard while advising people with these hidden coronavirus symptoms to self-quarantine and get medical help immediately, to avoid further spread of the disease.
Hidden Coronavirus Symptoms – What Parents Need to Know
An impaired sense of taste, and the inability to experience smells of food and your surroundings, are both symptoms of the common cold and flu. While this is a temporary condition for most people, it could be a sign of something more serious in today’s context.
However, how long should you wait before seeking medical opinion and how do you know that what you are experiencing could be one of the hidden coronavirus symptoms?
- If you have a common cold with a temporary impairment in your senses of smell or taste, and without any of the key COVID-19 symptoms like a fever, you can wait for a day or two until you’re back to normal. However, do practise self-quarantine and social distancing to keep yourself and others safe during this time. If the problem persists even after a few days, visit your doctor immediately, but do call beforehand.
- On the other hand, if the loss of these two senses is not accompanied by usual cold or flu symptoms, you should inform your doctor as soon as you notice your condition in order to get yourself tested for COVID-19. A sudden loss of the sense of smell or taste is not something common and should be looked at.
Further, regardless of whether your medical practitioner thinks you should go to the hospital or not, doctors from around the world have advised people experiencing impairment in the senses of smell and taste to practise self-quarantine for at least seven days. Doing so can help prevent further transmissions and also save you, with proper treatment at the right time.
This is relevant even in cases where no other currently known symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and respiratory illnesses such as cough and cold are visible because a lost sense of smell and taste alone could be one of the hidden symptoms of coronavirus.
Patients reported loss of smell, taste, and appetite
These new findings are the result of cases of people testing positive for the coronavirus and reporting to not being able to smell their shampoo; seasoned chefs experiencing blandness and finding it difficult to identify the smell of some foods; a mother not being able to smell her little one’s diaper; and so on. Doctors have also come across patients who complained of a diminished appetite accompanying their loss of sense of taste, well before developing the more commonly known COVID-19 symptoms of breathlessness and fever.
According to further reports, about 30% of 2,000 coronavirus infected patients in South Korea presented impairment in the senses of smell and taste. In all those cases, including basketball player Rudy Gobert, patients showed signs of the inability to smell and taste, while displaying no other symptoms, not even nasal congestion. It is still not clear as to why these symptoms occur. While some viruses infect the olfactory sensory nerves in the brain, some others annihilate the cell receptors inside the nose. Doctors say that the ability of viruses to infect the brain could possibly explain why COVID-19 causes respiratory failure.
A lost sense of smell and taste is no doubt a very bizarre symptom of COVID-19 but with a good percentage of patients showing these signs, this is being viewed as one of the hidden coronavirus symptoms, that we must watch out for, both in the presence and absence of other more typical symptoms that have already been reported earlier on.