Coronavirus: Are loss of smell and taste key symptoms?


A team of researchers from Yale University School of Medicine in a USA state found that about half the COVID-19 patients in China carried the virus even after they appeared to have recovered.

They should phone a doctor if they have symptoms.

As part of its global response to the growing pandemic, the American Heart Association is committing $2.5 million to research efforts to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with the body's cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems.

While the virus does not affect the taste buds on the tongue, because the sense of smell is so psychologically linked to taste, people will feel as if they have also lost their ability to taste. The patients had a median age of 35.5 years, and their primary symptoms included fever, cough, pain in the pharynx (pharyngalgia), and hard or labored breathing (dyspnea). But the patients tested COVID-19 positive for up to 8 days later after the symptoms were gone.

Among the ones who had coronavirus infection confirmed by a positive test, three-fifths (59%) reported loss of smell or taste. Moreover, 12 patients said they reported this symptom prior to hospital admission, while eight said it developed during the hospital stay.

Some were infectious for up to eight days after their symptoms, including fevers and coughs, had alleviated.

First, smell loss may be the only symptom, and indicates someone who seems otherwise well - or has only very mild symptoms - could be a carrier of the disease.

Doctor's Note: Can chloroquine and other drugs treat coronavirus?
After a week, 13 people on the malaria drug treatment group and 14 people from the control group had recovered. This means that people should not use it to self medicate in attempts to treat or prevent the virus.

Severe confusion or an inability to wake up or be alert can be a warning sign, according to the CDC, and people who experience those symptoms, especially with other critical signs like bluish lips, trouble breathing, or chest pain, should seek help immediately.

Among all patients with digestive symptoms (117 patients), about 67 (58%) had diarrhea, and of these, 13 (20%) experienced diarrhea as the first symptom of their illness. Nevertheless, it reiterates that people recovering from COVID-19 should remain in self-isolation long after symptoms clear up. They added that younger patients have been demonstrating such symptoms which suggests that the virus settles in the nose.

According to the study in the Lancet, about 8% of COVID-19 patients reported headaches.

"If you had mild respiratory symptoms from COVID-19 and were staying at home so as not to infect people, extend your quarantine for another two weeks after recovery to ensure that you don't infect other people", he said.

A sore throat occasionally accompanies coronavirus infection but again, it's more often a sign of a common flu or cold.

Holbrook said other viral infections can cause anosmia, and in a small subgroup of patients, that loss of smell can be long-lasting or even permanent.