The study also found that younger patients and women in the study were also more likely to experience a decreased loss of smell, says Sedaghat.
Also, about 50% of study patients experienced a stuffy nose and 35% experienced a runny nose. Sedaghat says this is important because previous studies indicated that these nasal symptoms were rare in COVID-19 and these symptoms were attributed to allergy and not the novel coronavirus.
“This just means that greater awareness is needed of COVID-19’s nasal symptoms so people are not running around sneezing in public and thinking it is okay since this is just allergies,” says Sedaghat. “It very well could be COVID-19 and wearing masks as protective gear for others you encounter is a good idea.”
Sedaghat says understanding more about loss of smell and COVID-19 is important for a public health perspective.
“No one is going to die because of a loss of the sense of smell and it’s not the symptom that will kill anyone,” says Sedaghat. “However, it is important because it helps us to identify these COVID-19 patients as asymptomatic carriers so they don’t spread the disease to others. Now we can potentially identify them early during the disease to start antiviral medications and ultimately maximize our ability to effectively treat these patients.”
Other co-authors of the study include Isabelle Gengler, MD, UC Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, along with Thirza Singer-Cornelius, MD; Michael Oberle, PhD, and Steffi Brockmeier, MD, all from Kantonsspital Aarau.
Funding for the study came from Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.
Featured image at top: Woman wearing a mask. Photo/Unsplash.