The loss of smell in COVID 19 is different from the one we experience when we have flu or cold. European researchers studying experiences by patients state this interesting fact.
When coronavirus patients face smell loss, it happens suddenly and more aggressively. Moreover, the symptoms of coronavirus don’t lead you to a block, runny, or stuffy nose. Most of them can breathe naturally.
One more thing that sets coronavirus patients apart is the loss of taste. It is not like their taste is impaired as they also have a loss of smell in COVID 19. But the tongue itself cannot differentiate between sweet or bitter.
According to experts, the coronavirus affects nerve cells that involve taste and smell sensations. The unmistakable symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- High temperature
- Continuous cough
- Loss of taste and smell
Anyone facing these symptoms must isolate themselves and arrange for a swab test to check if they have the virus. Their family should also isolate themselves to prevent the possibility of spread.
Loss of smell in COVID 19
Prof Carl Philpott, the lead investigator from the University of East Anglia, carried a test on 30 volunteers. Out of them, 10 people were positive for coronavirus, 10 had terrible cold, and 10 people were healthy with no symptoms of cold and flu.
Smell loss was profound for patients of coronavirus. They were not able to identify smells or differentiate between sweet and bitter food.
Prof Carl Philpott works with charity Fifth Sense, which helps people having taste and smell disorders. They found distinguishing features that separate people from coronavirus patients and people with other respiratory viruses.
The professor said that the difference is exciting, as knowing it will help discriminate between people positive of COVID-19 and the ones who are not. They said people could do taste and smell tests at home with things like sugar, lemon, coffee, and garlic.
He also said that people must go through nose and throat tests if they feel they have coronavirus. Positive people will eventually get their taste and smell back after a few weeks.
Nostril therapies can prevent coronavirus if the test passes through
Prof Andrew Lane, an expert in sinus and nose issues from Johns Hopkins University, also had inputs to give. He is researching with tissue samples from the back of the nose to detect how the loss of smell happens due to coronavirus. His studies were also published in the European Respiratory Journal.
The research found high levels of an enzyme present in the area of the nose that helps us smell. The enzyme is angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE-2). It is considered as “entry point,” which allows COVID-19 to go into the cells of our body and lead to an infection.
Prof Andrew Lane said that they are doing more experiments in the lab to check if the virus is using such cells to infect the body. The results will determine if they can tackle the infection with antiviral therapies taken through the nostrils.