Dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are the typical symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It is only normal for people to pay attention to these symptoms and stay away from those who have them for fear of contracting this virus. However, emerging findings are revealing loss of smell as one of the earliest signs of the infection.
Loss of smell is an increasingly common symptom of the infection. In South Korea, for example, more than 30% of patients with confirmed COVID-19 experienced loss of smell during the course of the illness. In one preliminary study in four European countries, researchers found that one in eight persons with the COVID-19 infection experienced loss of smell before any other symptom.
But what may be the reason for this?
Researchers have found that the novel coronavirus infects and disables the olfactory nerve cells, which carry smell signals to the brain. As a result, the loss of function of this nerve causes loss of smell, which may be temporary or permanent.
So, when next you are observing yourself or someone else for possible symptoms of COVID-19, pay attention to your sense of smell.
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