Can COVID-19 affect your sense of smell and taste?

Can COVID-19 affect your sense of smell and taste?

For the past weeks, some patients who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus have been reported to be experiencing a loss of sense of taste and smell. But does the virus actually cause it?

In an analysis of data collected through a symptom app created by scientists to monitor the pandemic, it now looks like losing the sense of taste and smell could be the best way to tell if someone has the COVID-19.

The scientists use a mathematical model to determine which combination of symptoms, including loss of taste and smell, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and persistent cough, are more accurate in predicting the COVID-19 infection. 

Based on the data, it seems like the loss of taste and smell, when combined with other symptoms, provides good predictability if one has the infectious disease.

What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19

If you think you might have the novel coronavirus, it’s important to do the following:

  • Isolate, isolate, isolate

COVID-19 is already a pandemic. You can help prevent the spread by keeping yourself isolated. 

If you don’t live alone, it’s important to stay in a designated “sick” room. If possible, use your own bathroom and avoid sharing eating utensils and personal items like blankets and towels.

  • Rest and hydrate

Unless you’re experiencing difficulty in breathing and other serious symptoms, treat it like you’re having a cold. Get a lot of rest and make sure you’re well-hydrated. 

  • Wear a face mask when around people

We have a shortage of masks right now. So, use it only when you’re around people. 

  • Get help if you need it

If you have kids or need help in getting groceries or other essentials, ask for help from trusted friends and family. Make sure that you and the people helping you are following safety protocols to prevent further spread of the virus. 

When to see a doctor

With the surge of COVID-19 patients in hospitals right now, healthcare workers struggle to find room for everyone. So, unless you’re experiencing the following symptoms, it’s best to stay at home:

  • Constant chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe dizziness
  • Slurring of speech
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 or seek medical help immediately.

COVID-19 can cause serious complications to certain groups (e.g. asthmatic or have other respiratory health problems, immunocompromised, have heart disease, smoker, diabetic, have kidney disease, over the age of 60). If you are a person at risk, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before your symptoms get worse.

Not sure if your symptoms are due to cold, allergies, or COVID-19? Our specialists at Greater Knoxville ENT can help! You may call us at (865) 244-4396.




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