Watch for this silent COVID-19 symptom affecting a third of the infected

Just a few days ago, I outlined for you the differences among mild, moderate and severe symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

A mild case of the illness usually involves a low-grade fever (under 100.4 degrees), a mild dry cough and some aches and pains.

Now, there’s something we need to add to this list.

It’s a silent symptom. No cough. No sneeze. And it often affects younger people, who don’t realize they are infected and should be self-isolating so they don’t give the virus to more vulnerable people around them.

In South Korea, China, and Italy, about a third of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have also reported this symptom.

In fact, it might be the only symptom they present.

Sudden loss of smell can signal infection

You’re cooking dinner one night, adding more and more garlic and spices, yet you still can’t smell any aroma. You sit down to dinner and, despite the fact that you’ve added all that spice, your meal tastes bland.

Or, like me, you’re known for your sensitive nose, yet you suddenly can’t smell the accident the dog had on the rug, or the bleach you’re using to clean it.

You may very well be infected with the COVID-19 virus and not know it.

Dr. Claire Hopkins is president of the British Rhinological Society, and Dr. Nirmal Kumar is president of ENT UK, a group representing ear, nose and throat doctors in Britain.

Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Kumar strongly recommend that anyone experiencing the sudden onset of anosmia (loss of sense of smell) or ageusia (loss of the ability to taste) self-isolate for at least seven days.

“There have been a rapidly growing number of reports of a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with anosmia in the absence of other symptoms,” they say.

In South Korea, China, and Italy, about a third of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 have also reported a loss of their sense of smell.

Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Kumar also say that medical colleagues in the United States, France, and Italy have reported a sudden upswing in the cases of anosmia, without any respiratory symptoms at all.

Especially in young people, this could be the ONLY symptom

Young people, in particular, could be walking around untested, spreading the virus wherever they go.

“In young patients, they do not have any significant symptoms such as the cough and fever, but they may have just the loss of sense of smell and taste, which suggests that these viruses are lodging in the nose,” Dr. Kumar said.

And, of course, one uncovered sneeze or cough will transmit those droplets, along with the virus, to other people.

The loss of smell or taste, in people of any age, is sudden, and there are no allergies or nasal congestion to explain it.

So, if one of your adult children, or grandchildren, complains that they can’t smell or taste anything, send them home.

Talk to your family

If a fever, aches and a cough prompt you to get tested, and if you do test positive for COVID-19, it’s probably a really good idea to check with your spouse or housemates about how things are smelling these days.

It could be that they are positive as well and transmitted it to you. If they do tell you that their sense of smell or taste has been “off” lately, then it’s safe to say you should both self-isolate, to avoid transmitting the virus to others.

Knowing about this “silent symptom” can help us save lives… IF we take it as seriously as a cough or fever, self-isolate, and slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Sources:

  1. Sudden Loss of Smell Could Indicate ‘Hidden Carriers’ of Coronavirus, Say UK Experts — ScienceAlert
  2. Lost Sense of Smell May Be Peculiar Clue to Coronavirus InfectionThe New York Times
  3. Coronavirus: Expert says new symptoms could be loss of taste or smell — Sky News

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Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.