It’s worth noting that most of this evidence is anecdotal at this stage, but there are enough reported cases that medical professionals are saying a loss of smell or taste should be considered a symptom of COVID-19. “We propose that these symptoms be added to the list of screening tools for possible COVID-19 infection,” reads a statement released by the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.
The organisation notes that if a patient does not have another respiratory infection, these symptoms “should alert physicians to the possibility of COVID-19 infection and warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing of these individuals.” In an effort to track the relationship between anosmia and the novel coronavirus, the organisation has also recently launched a reporting tool for clinicians to track cases of patients testing positive for COVID-19 experiencing loss of smell.
What are the other symptoms of the novel coronavirus that I should be watching out for?
According to CDC guidelines, fever, coughing and shortness and breath are all known symptoms of COVID-19. In some cases, these can be mild, but for those who are elderly or have a chronic or underlying medical condition, symptoms can be much more severe and result in hospitalization.
COVID-19 Update: What To Do If You Start Experiencing Symptoms
It’s also important to remember that it may take symptoms up to 14 days to appear after you’ve been exposed to the virus, which is why it’s so important to self-quarantine if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 — even if you still feel healthy. Research has shown that you can have the novel coronavirus (and pass it to others) even if you aren’t displaying any symptoms.
What can I do to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus?
Currently, there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which means helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 really comes down to individuals. You can help by following the CDC’s guidelines, which include washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, disinfecting surfaces you regularly touch, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you are feeling sick, you should definitely stay home to avoid infecting others.
Even if you feel healthy, practising social distancing are important for giving our healthcare system the best shot at beating this outbreak. While you may have mild symptoms — or none at all — without testing, there’s no way to know for certain. So, for the time being, stay at home, get cosy on your couch and do your part to flatten the curve.