Losing Sense Of Smell And Taste Could Be A Sign Of Being A Covid-19 Carrier
But one piece of information that was established relatively early into the outbreak, was that a percentage of people who become infected with coronavirus, will not experience any symptoms at all (although they can infect others). These people are known as 'carriers'.
Now, continued research into coronavirus - including how it presents - has indicated that a sudden loss of smell or taste could be a sign you're infected.
Evidence compiled by rhinologists in the UK suggests that even if you have no symptoms making you feel unwell (for example, a cough or fever), experiencing anosmia could indicate you have the virus - which means you could easily pass it on.
It's something that's been experienced by a large number of patients around the globe. For example, in South Korea, nearly a third of patients with coronavirus also reported a loss of smell and/or taste. Meanwhile in Germany, it's reported that two in three cases have experienced it.
"In Germany it
is reported that more than two in three confirmed cases have anosmia. In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30 per cent of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases," the president of the British Rhinological Society Professor, Clare Hopkins, and the president of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology, professor Nirmal Kumar said in a statement.
"There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in
the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms - this has
been widely shared on medical discussion boards by surgeons from all regions managing a
high incidence of cases."
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Professor Kumar told Sky News that this could occur in younger patients who do not have the associated cough and fever.
"In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose," he said.
While NHS guidelines state that a high temperature or a new, continuous cough are the only self-isolation markers, the professors are calling for those who experience loss of taste or smell to self-isolate for seven days.
This comes after two NHS ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultants were diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now receiving critical care after contracting the virus.
The medics - who are on ventilators - are believed to have caught the virus from patients who did not show any symptoms while continuing their normal ENT clinics.
"There is potential that if any adult with anosmia but no other symptoms was asked to self isolate for seven days, in addition to the current symptom criteria used to trigger quarantine, we might be able to reduce the number of otherwise asymptomatic individuals who continue to act as vectors, not realising the need to self-isolate," the statement continued.
You can read the full statement here.
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