By now, you’ve likely heard hundreds of times that fever, dry cough and shortness of breath as well as body aches, are typical symptoms of the novel coronavirus; and, some people have gastrointestinal issues or colds. The Washington Post reports that a team of British doctors has found that many people with the novel coronavirus, even people with no other symptoms, lose their sense of smell. Have you lost your sense of smell?
If you have lost your sense of smell, you could be carrying COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. You should self-isolate to protect your community. That said, the World Health Organization has not confirmed that loss of smell is a symptom. It continues to weigh the evidence.
Around the world, patients with COVID-19 often have either lost their sense of smell–anosmia–or have a reduced ability to smell–hyposmia. In fact, two in three Germans with COVID-19 had anosmia. In South Korea, three in ten patients with COVID-19 have had anosmia.
In the US, one doctor reports that nine of his patients had lost their sense of smell. Most were under 40. No one understood–no one told them–that they should self-isolate. It’s critical to self-isolate in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
However, if you’ve never had a strong sense of smell, you should not assume you now have COVID-19. Do not panic. Many people have anosmia and do not have COVID-19.
Please know that if you have lost your sense of smell because of COVID-19, you should get it back when your body recovers. Interestingly, loss of sense of smell has long been an indicator of an upper-respiratory infection.
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