One of the more unusual symptoms of COVID-19 may be a temporary loss of the senses of taste and smell, according to researchers and many people who have contracted the novel coronavirus. Some otherwise asymptomatic individuals have been alarmed to wake up without any ability to smell or taste anything, or a significantly reduced ability, only to find out that it may be a sign of the illness.
The American Academy of Otolaryngology posted information on its website saying that mounting anecdotal evidence indicates that lost or reduced sense of smell and loss of taste are significant symptoms associated with Covid-19 https://t.co/IhO03Id2Bt— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 23, 2020
So far it’s only a theory, and most evidence is purely anecdotal. However, it’s become enough of a thing that ear, nose and throat doctors in Britain got together and issued a joint statement urging anyone who experiences sudden and unexplained reductions in their sense of smell and/or taste should self-isolate as soon as they notice.
Doctors in Italy have noticed the same phenomenon.
“Almost everybody who is hospitalized has this same story,” said Dr. Marco Metra, chief of the cardiology department at the main hospital in Brescia. “You ask about the patient’s wife or husband. And the patient says, ‘My wife has just lost her smell and taste but otherwise she is well.’ So she is likely infected, and she is spreading it with a very mild form.”
People online have been backing up these reports with their own (miserable) experiences:
Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) March 22, 2020
I was quite unwell, v high temperature and v bad cough. Couldn’t eat, concentrate, in a fog, slept huge amount, terrible night sweats. Turned a corner on day 7 - just got stronger every day. Still no taste/smell tho.— Nadine Dorries 🇬🇧 (@NadineDorries) March 22, 2020
Not quite as bad as true flu I had in ‘95
I’m feeling almost better from being sick but I can’t taste or smell anything!!! even when my sinuses feel completely unplugged (like right now, I’m chewing gum and can only slightly feel that cold sensation you get from mint gum) https://t.co/gfZ2Bf1qq6— kiara (@kiaramaile) March 23, 2020
I’ve had Coronavirus for four days. My flatmate was diagnosed so was inevitable. First two days - a high fever, with coughs and muscle aches. Day three - cough went, but still had aches and fever. Day four - woke up without the fever but can’t taste or smell. Weird ass virus.— Richard Gadd (@MrRichardGadd) March 24, 2020
I know people have being saying this already but I can confirm that post-Covid19 I have completely lost my sense of smell, and most of my sense of taste. It’s astonishing. My cup of tea tastes like hot water. Can’t smell my aftershave.— Ben Lovell (@DrBenLovell) March 23, 2020
Any insight on how long this lasts?
Just spoke with an MD colleague (prominent #cancer doctor) whose wife was just diagnosed with #COVID19. He is being tested now—unlike @RandPaul, he self-quarantined.— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) March 24, 2020
I asked whether his wife had #anosmia (loss of smell) or #ageusia (loss of taste).
Him: “Yes.” <while coughing>
It’s bloody annoying craving a nice beef stew with fries but knowing it’s pointless to get it as you can’t smell or taste anything... 😑 pic.twitter.com/y12wTzHoEs— Steven (@Airwaysfoodie) March 23, 2020
Quite a few of you out there who can’t smell or taste either. I’ve had it for a few days but only heard about this being a symptom last night, if i have it. Pretty much been home the past few days but now isolating as it can be contagious. Feel fine & still exercising daily 👍— George Lineker (@GeorgeLineker) March 23, 2020
#coronavirus update... 9th day of symptoms. No fever since day 5. Cough still deep in chest. Zero sense of smell/taste for 4th day. 60% energy.— Rory Lawson (@rorylawson9) March 24, 2020
Thanks for well wishes. What’s struck home is that this is NOT a disease of the old. It’s a killer. Full stop. Keep doing whats right.
Settled down to eat my final 2 chocolate digestives from my isolation rations and realised I CAN’T TASTE OR SMELL ANYTHING. WHAT A WASTE.— Jessie Angell (@jessieangell17) March 21, 2020
Just remember—the symptom is temporary. You will be able to smell and taste chocolate again.