A loss of taste or smell might be an indication that you have coronavirus, according to UK researchers. A team at King’s College London looked at responses from over 400,000 individuals reporting suspected COVID-19 symptoms and an active case.
But lack of smell and taste are also signs of other respiratory ailments, like the common cold. And experts say cough and fever remain the leading indicators of the virus to be on the lookout for and act upon.
The C.D.C director has said that up to 1 in 4 coronavirus cases my be symptom free although still contagious. Gary Lineker’s son, George has added a tweet showing how his lack of taste is effecting his day to day life.
Heard there’s a little taste challenge going around. As I’m on day 12 of not smelling or tasting anything, I thought I’d give it a go 😂 pic.twitter.com/WH1apSGtCs— George Lineker (@GeorgeLineker) March 30, 2020
In the event you or someone you live with has a new constant cough or higher temperature, the advice is to stay at home to block the potential of spreading coronavirus to other people.
The King’s College researchers wanted to collect information on potential coronavirus symptoms to assist experts better understand and combat the disease.
Of those reporting one or more symptoms of coronavirus into the COVID Symptom Tracker program: Of those 400,000 people, 1,702 stated they were tested for COVID-19, with 579 getting a positive result and 1,123 a negative one.
Among the ones who’d coronavirus disease confirmed by a positive test, three-fifths (59 per cent) reported a loss of taste or odour. Should loss of taste and smell be added to the key symptoms to look out for? Experts say there is not enough evidence yet.
Public Health England and the World Health Organization haven’t added them to the list yet. ENT UK, the body which represents Ear, Nose and Throat physicians, says it’s not surprising that some patients with coronavirus may report these as symptoms, but they aren’t specific to COVID-19.
They urge including them as potential coronavirus symptoms. The King’s researchers say the loss of taste and odour may be useful added symptoms to watch for, not in there but alongside other critical ones like fever and cough.
Lead researcher Prof Tim Spector said: “When coupled with other symptoms, individuals with loss of smell and taste seem to be three times more likely to have contracted COVID-19 based on our data, and should therefore self-isolate for seven days to decrease the spread of this disease.”
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