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Read our message to patients about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A Loss Of Taste and Smell May Be Novel Coronavirus Symptoms

April 7, 2020

A new study out of London finds that a loss of taste and smell could be some of the first novel coronavirus symptoms. Until now, a fever, cough, fatigue and shortness of breath have been the most dominant symptoms to pay attention to. But the results of this new study may help people self-diagnose themselves earlier. 

Let’s take a look at what they found.

What The Researchers Discovered

A research team at King’s College London assessed the responses of more than 400,000 people. The researchers used an app to record responses from people with one or more suspected symptoms of COVID-19.

Results show that nearly 60% of those who tested positive for the virus reported a loss of smell and taste. This compares with only 18% of who tested negative for the disease. Researchers say these results were much stronger in predicting positive COVID-19 diagnoses than a self-reported fever. According to the results, people with a loss of smell and taste appear to be 3 times more likely to contract COVID-19.

What does the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend?

WHO is not adding a loss of smell or taste to the list of common symptoms of the coronavirus. The agency states that the coronavirus infection affects different people in different ways. Some develop severe forms, like pneumonia, while most people recover with supportive care. 

More research is needed before loss of taste and smell can be officially added to the list of early coronavirus symptoms.

What Should You Do?

WHO advises people with mild symptoms, who are otherwise healthy, to self-isolate and to contact their doctor. If you’re experiencing a fever, cough and are having difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention right away. Call your primary care physician’s office first to let them know that you may have contracted the coronavirus. This will give them time to get you into the office without exposing others who may be there.

Coronavirus Prevention Tips

To keep the virus from spreading everyone is being advised to stay home and practice social distancing (stay 6 feet away from each other if you do have to go out to a store to get essentials).

Other things you can do include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog, contact your doctor. 

If you have a regularly scheduled appointment, but you're unsure about visiting your doctor during the coronavirus outbreak, take a look at our Telehealth Services page or call today to schedule a telehealth appointment. Virtual doctor appointments are just another way we are helping you become a healthier you.  

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