Loss of Smell and Taste Could be Early Symptoms of Covid 19
The typical symptoms of Covid 19 are fever, cough and breathing difficulty. However, several cases have been reported, where patients presented with lack of smell and taste, who were later diagnosed to be having Covid 19. Many of these patients had no respiratory symptoms suggestive of Covid 19, when they developed loss of smell and taste.
The mechanism of lack of smell seems to be the involvement of olfactory nerves and their brain connections by the SARS-CoV 2 virus (which causes Covid 19). Lack of smell and taste are not permanent, and as patients recover from Covid 19, smell and taste sensations also return to normal.
So, it is recommended that persons who develop new onset lack of smell and taste (without any common cold) should self-isolate themselves and if they develop symptoms suggestive of Covid 19 later, should present themselves for covid 19 testing.
The guidelines in this regard were published by American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) on 22nd march, 2020 and can be accessed at the following link:
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad