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Stay Alert: Loss Of Smell Or Taste Is A New Symptom Of Coronavirus, Say Doctors

Stay Alert: Loss Of Smell Or Taste Is A New Symptom Of Coronavirus, Say Doctors

The coronavirus outbreak has brought the entire world to a staggering halt. Yesterday, the Indian government decided to impose a country-wide lockdown on its population of 1.3 billion people to combat the spread of the deadly virus. As of this moment, 425,323 people across the globe have been infected, while the death toll stands at 18,944.

Until now, doctors have warned us about the symptoms to watch out for: fever, dry cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. However, it is people who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus who are the most dangerous of them all–because they could be unknowing spreading to several healthy persons.

To make matters worse, doctors worldwide are now sounding the alarm for new symptoms of carriers of COVID-19: loss of smell and taste. “This is a sign of infection and anyone who develops loss of sense of smell should self-isolate,” Claire Hopkins, the president of the British Rhinological Society, told The New York Times. “It could contribute to slowing transmission and save lives,” she added.

The scientific terms for these symptoms are hyposmia or a decreased sense of smell, and dysgeusia or a distorted sense of taste. 

Last week, several medical groups released statements regarding these new symptoms. The American Academy of Otolaryngology posted on its website that lost smell, as well as distorted smell and taste, are being commonly noticed in otherwise healthy COVID-19 patients. They informed doctors that in the absence of other obvious causes, these symptoms indicate possible “Covid-19 infection and warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing of these individuals.”

Doctors from Italy and South Korea, who have seen a large number of infected patients, have also widely reported seeing loss of smell and taste among otherwise asymptomatic family members of hospitalised patients.

So if you are otherwise healthy, but notice these symptoms, self-quarantine yourself right away and immediately inform a medical professional. In the meantime, practice social distancing, regularly sanitise all surfaces and wash your hands several times a day for 20-30 seconds.

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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25 Mar 2020

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