Tuesday, 4 August, 2020
Home Health & Medicine

Study says Covid-19 can take away one’s senses of smell, taste

Study says Covid-19 can take away one's senses of smell, taste
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A recent study from Italy revealed that Covid-19 can take away one’s senses of smell and taste. This loss is considered a warning sign of possible infection.

The study, published in the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Journal, showed that 10 percent of those whose senses of smell and taste disappeared due to Covid-19 found their symptoms worsening or remaining the same over the course of the infection.

A BBC report showed that the 90 percent of coronavirus patients who lost their sense of smell or taste experienced improvement or recovery from their illness within a month.

In addition, 49 percent of patients go their sense of smell or taste back in full, while 40 percent reported mild improvements.

Loss of taste and smell were not identified as coronavirus symptoms when the pandemic initially emerged, but they have been critical warning signs.


The researchers asked 187 Italians about their experiences with the coronavirus. The respondents were positive for coronavirus but not ill enough to be confined in the hospital, according to BBC.

Data showed that there were 113 patients who claimed their sense of smell and/or taste had changed, while 55 had full recovery. Moreover, 46 participants manifested overall improvements and 12 patients noted their symptoms did not change or become worse.

One of the study’s authors and president of the British Rhinological Society, Professor Claire Hopkins, said coronavirus research is starting to explore the long-term effects of the disease and the possible symptoms survivors can experience.

“Data from other viral illnesses and some of the new data we are gathering, suggest the vast majority of people will get better but for some, recovery will be slow,” she told the BBC. “For people who recover more quickly it is likely the virus has only affected the cells lining their nose.”

Hopkins added, “For people who recover more slowly it may be that the virus has affected the nerves involved in smell, too. It can take longer for these nerve cells to repair and regenerate.”

A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that people with coronavirus symptoms may only experience them five days after their exposure to the virus.

The study “The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application” discovered that people would manifest coronavirus symptoms 5.1 days after their initial exposure. It was the median length as incubation periods vary. Some people show signs of illness within two weeks.

“Based on our analysis of publicly available data, the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although with that period some cases would be missed over the long term,” said Justin Lessler of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and senior author of the report.

The results did not touch on the extent to which people can spread the virus during the symptom-free period. However, preliminary evidence reveals there is a short window before infected individuals feel ill when they can transmit the virus to others.

The data gathered by Lessler and colleagues was based on 181 cases from China and other countries that were identified before 24 February. These cases involved travel to or from Wuhan, China, or contact with other people who had been there.