According to a study conducted on over 100 COVID-19 positive patients, people are most likely to lose their sense of smell by the third day of infection with the novel coronavirus. This study may aid public health experts better identify those carrying the deadly virus without adverse symptoms.
The study, which was published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, examined characteristics and symptoms of 103 patients who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The patients from Aarau, Switzerland provided data on the total number of days they had COVID-19 symptoms, and the timing and severity of their loss of smell, said study co-author, Ahmad Sedaghat from the University of Cincinnati in the US.
Out of the total 103 people, at least 61 per cent reported reduced or lost sense of smell, Sedaghat said, adding that the mean onset for reduction or loss in the sense of smell was 3.4 days.
“We also found in this study that the severity of the loss of smell is correlated with how bad your other Covid-19 symptoms will be,” Sedaghat said. “If the anosmia, also known as loss of smell, is worse, the patients reported worse shortness of breath, and more severe fever and cough,” he added.
As per the scientist, if someone has a decreased sense of smell then they are in the first week of the infection. “If someone has a decreased sense of smell with COVID-19, we know they are within the first week of the disease course, and there is still another week or two to expect,” he added.
Sedaghat said that a decreased sense of smell may be an indicator that the patient is in the early course of the virus and may go on to develop more severe symptoms, like shortness of breath.
“When you start to experience serious symptoms of Covid-19 which include shortness of breath and respiratory distress, that’s when you should become alarmed,” he said.
The study also noted that younger patents and women were more likely to experience a decreased loss of smell, the study noted.
About 50 per cent of study patients experienced a stuffy nose and 35 per cent experienced a runny nose.