'Asymptomatic' COVID-19 carriers often lose sense of smell

This sign could be as innocuous-looking as feeling that food suddenly tastes bland, or that familiar strong smells aren't getting through.

It states: "If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started".

Dressed in full protective gear a healthcare worker collects a sample from a man sitting inside his auto as part of the operations of a coronavirus mobile testing unit. Other symptoms have since come to light, including loss of taste and smell.

Hopkins and Nirmal Kumar, the president of ENT UK, a professional membership body for ear, nose and throat doctors in Britain, have urged health care workers to use personal protective equipment when dealing with any patients who have lost their senses of smell and/or taste. They looked at reports of cases from ENT consultants the world over and concluded that adults anywhere in the world who suddenly can not smell properly any more should go into self-isolation for seven days to stop further transmission of the disease and delay its spread within the community. While he understands the need for urgent measures to slow the virus's spread, he warned that many people are functionally anosmic - including about 5% of Germans - and reiterated that it will take more data to prove a true correlation. There, she observed ENT UK's reporting a surge of reported anosmia across their patients, and even among themselves. This typically occurs within six to 12 months.

"The concept is it is an early warning radar device because we are asking about non-classical symptoms as well, because many people are reporting non-persistent cough, or feeling unwell or a odd feeling of a lack of taste, or chest tightness that aren't in the classical list but if we see it across the country in clusters we know they are probably real [symptoms of Covid-19]", said Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, who is leading the work. For instance, a significant citation comes from South Korea, where testing has been carried out on a mass scale. Another small study from South Korea suggested around 30 percent of positive COVID-19 cases noted a loss of smell. All of these were mild cases. The condition should lead to the recommendation that the patient self-isolate as well. "They really don't because they're otherwise perfectly healthy". Marco Metra, cardiology chief at Brescia's main hospital, which has 700 coronavirus patients out of a total of 1,200 patients, says, "Almost everybody who is hospitalized has this same story".

Some doctors in Italy have also said that the loss of taste and smell indicates that someone is likely carrying the virus and infecting others.

It looks like we are yet to unearth all of the possible symptoms that a Coronavirus patient might possess and loss of smell and/or taste is one of them. The WHO says other symptoms can include tiredness, fatigue, and in some patients, "aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea". However, they can differentiate people who should be tested from those who don't need it. "A high rate of transmission of Covid-19 to otolaryngologists has been reported from China, Italy and Iran, many resulting in death". The symptoms can not be relieved by nasal drops or sprays. But apparently, according to CNN and The New York Times, a new symptom may be added to that list.

"One of the things I think a lot of physicians and patients are struggling with is trying to determine whether these mild symptoms are related to, say, allergies or a mild cold", Holbrook said. The app will help researchers identify how fast is the virus spreading in different areas, know which areas are the riskiest, and detect who is most at risk from the diseases.



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