Loss of smell and taste with flu suggest strong chance of corona infection

If you lose the smell and taste, along with signs of fever and fatigue, chances are higher  that you have corona virus infection, says a study.

For the first time, empirical findings have strongly suggested sensory loss and taste loss are associated with the novel corona virus diseases, in a study done by researchers at UC San Diego Health.

“Based on our study, if you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 infection than other causes of infection. The most common first sign of a COVID-19 infection remains fever, but fatigue and loss of smell and taste follow as other very common initial symptoms,” said Carol Yan, MD, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at UC San Diego Health. “We know COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus. This study supports the need to be aware of smell and taste loss as early signs of COVID-19.”

The study was done on 1,480 patients with flu-like symptoms and concerns regarding potential COVID-19 infection in March. Out of the total, 102 patients tested positive for the virus and 1,378 tested negative. The study included responses from 59 COVID-19-positive patients and 203 COVID-19-negative patients.

“Our study not only showed that the high incidence of smell and taste is specific to COVID-19 infection, but we fortunately also found that for the majority of people sensory recovery was generally rapid,” said Yan. “Among the Covid-19 patients with smell loss, more than 70 percent had reported improvement of smell at the time of survey and of those who hadn’t reported improvement, many had only been diagnosed recently.”

Other known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, fatigue, cough and difficulty breathing.


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