Coronavirus can cause a number of symptoms and not every patient experience all of these symptoms. There are some symptoms such as loss of smell and loss of taste which are associated with chronic conditions. But a new study estimates that more than 86% of COVID-19 patients suffer from anosmia. It is surprising because it even showed up in mild cases, although the loss of smell of ansonia mostly shows up in extreme cases. This study is published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
The reduced sense of smelling medically called olfactory dysfunction is common in COVID-19 patients. This study evaluated the condition of 2,581 COVID-19 patients with mild to severe symptoms from 18 different European hospitals.
The data used to study the prevalence of loss of smell of anosmia was self-reported by the patients. At least 85.9% of these mild cases confirmed the loss of smell, followed by nearly 4.5% moderate cases and 6.9% severe COVID-19 cases.
Most patients reported that this olfactory dysfunction lasts for 21-22 days. But 1/3rd of patients said that they are unable to get their loss of smell back even after two months of recovering from the virus.
The clinical studies on these patients found that loss of smell is common in 54.7% of mild COVID-19 cases while 36.6% of cases of moderate and critical patients also have it.
This incidence of anosmia showing up in mild COVID-19 cases is alarming and some health experts suggest it might be associated with the mutated viral strain. On the other side, nearly 95% of these patients reported getting back their sense of smell.
Those cases which don’t report pneumonia linked with coronavirus or low oxygen levels are considered mild. While others who experience these, experience loss of smell and taste even after recovery.
For most of these people, this smell reappeared after 21 days but 5% of them reported that they are unable to get it back even after six months. Not many people know that loss of smell is an early sign of Covid-19. And it may show up even before other symptoms typically associated with the virus.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery has also confirmed anosmia in early COVID-19 patients.
This study has highlighted the importance of self-check up, making sure that you are in the best of health. the health experts emphasized not take this loss of smell light and check yourself from time to time and see if other symptoms show up.
While anosmia is typically coined with COVID-19 cases, you will be surprised to know that loss of smell is common during other infections as well. Basically any respiratory disease even the common cold can also temporarily affect the sense of smell, and some people can even experience it for weeks.
Anosmia or loss of smell is caused when the viral particles cause swelling in the nose, inflaming the olfactory nerve. The smelling gets better as the infection is treated. Some viruses are neurotoxic and long-term exposure may permanently affect the smelling sense. However, there is no evidence that coronavirus is one of them.