The most common symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus are well-established. They include fever, dry cough and difficulty breathing. But they’re not the only symptoms. In many COVID-19 cases, full onset of the illness is preceded by loss of chemosensory functions, smell and taste.
For quite some time, the breathless hair hats in the media have been parading a variety of possible COVID-19 symptoms across the news flow. Got a headache? It’s coronavirus! Sneezing? It’s coronavirus! Sore throat? You guessed it! Coronavirus! For the record, none of these are initial-onset symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus.
It turns out, however, that some of the weird symptoms reported on by the fear-mongering failure and panic whores in the media actually IS an early symptom of COVID-19. (Can you tell I really don’t care for the lamestream media?) However, these symptoms aren’t the kind of gloom-and-doom symptoms they were made out to be.
Loss of smell and taste (chemosensory dysfunction) has been anecdotally reported as a combined symptom of COVID-19 infections. Now, we have science to show this is actually true. In a study published April 12, 2020 in the journal International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, researchers at UC San Diego Health report the first empirical findings that strongly link sensory loss with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Based on our study, if you have smell and taste loss, you are more than 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 infection than other causes of infection. The most common first sign of a COVID-19 infection remains fever, but fatigue and loss of smell and taste follow as other very common initial symptoms,” said Carol Yan, MD, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon at UC San Diego Health. “We know COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus. This study supports the need to be aware of smell and taste loss as early signs of COVID-19.”
Dr. Yan and her band of merry researchers got their findings during a survey of 1,480 patients who had flu-like symptoms. These same patients were concerned they might have contracted SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. Their work ran from March 2, 2020 through March 29, 2020.
Of all the patients tested, 1,378 tested negative for COVID-19, while only 102 tested positive. The study also included responses from 59 other COVID-19-positive patients and 203 who were negative for the virus.
When asked about the degree of loss of smell and taste, Dr. Yan noted that the loss was virtually always profound. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there was a very high rate of recovery which generally occurred within two to four weeks of initial infection. Dr. Yan says the study showed a high prevalence of specific sensory impairments in COVID-19-positive patients.
“Our study not only showed that the high incidence of smell and taste is specific to COVID-19 infection, but we fortunately also found that for the majority of people sensory recovery was generally rapid,” said Yan. “Among the Covid-19 patients with smell loss, more than 70 percent had reported improvement of smell at the time of survey and of those who hadn’t reported improvement, many had only been diagnosed recently.”
As patients recovered from COVID-19, their sense of taste and smell recovered, too. One interesting finding by the researchers was that most patients reporting a sore throat as a symptom were negative for COVID-19.
The folks at UC San Diego health are taking these findings seriously. They have begun including loss of smell and taste in their screening regimen for visitors and staff. They’re also including chemosensory dysfunction as a marker for testing patients who may have been exposed to, and may be positive for, the virus.
To clear up a few more fallacies, the actual known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough (most often a dry cough) and difficulty breathing. Many patients have also reported joint pain, but that was later in the infection cycle.
Dr. Yan noted that the participants in their study were mostly people with milder cases of COVID-19, and did not require hospitalization or intubation. She stated that the findings underline the importance of early identification of COVID-19 symptoms, when they may be very mild or subtle, since these people may be at risk of spreading the disease within their communities while they are recovering.
“It is our hope that with these findings other institutions will follow suit and not only list smell and taste loss as a symptom of COVID-19, but use it as a screening measure for the virus across the world,” Yan said.
When the media hair hats start spewing off all the “symptoms” of COVID-19 you should be panicking over, remember two things. First, the media pretty much stopped reporting the news and started playing the “clickbait” game a while ago. As American journalist Armstrong Williams is credited with saying, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Second is when in doubt (as it regards COVID-19, at least,) check the real science.
Keep the faith and keep after it!
Journal Reference – Carol H. Yan et al, Association of chemosensory dysfunction and Covid-19 in patients presenting with influenza-like symptoms, International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology (2020). DOI: 10.1002/alr.22579