One of the first COVID-19 symptoms to be documented widely was the loss of smell and taste. Early results from the first survey of the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) showed that people reporting COVID-19 symptoms had an average drop of 80% in their ability to smell. It was disturbing news but a new study finds that if you start to experience the loss of smell it could indicate that you will be getting a more mild case of coronavirus.
Researchers at UC San Diego Health looked at 169 COVID-19 patients between March 3 and April 20 and found that those who were hospitalized did not name anosmia as one of their symptoms. The results were similar for the loss of taste symptoms (or dysgeusia.)
This research could help with hospitalization rates as patients who reported a loss of smell were 10 times less likely to be admitted to the hospital. Study author Dr. Carol Yan, rhinologist and surgeon at UC San Diego Health, said a person that lost their smell would most likely not have a serious case of COVID-19 unless they had underlying conditions. “One of the immediate challenges for health care providers is to determine how to best treat persons infected by the novel coronavirus,” she said in a university release. “If they display no or mild symptoms, can they return home to self-quarantine or will they likely require hospitalization? These are crucial questions for hospitals trying to efficiently and effectively allocate finite medical resources.”
Even though these patients are still testing positive for COVID-19, this is good news.