One of the prime indicators of having contracted COVID-19 is the loss of smell. New research from Europe has indicated that this sensation is very different from the loss of taste and smell that comes from the common cold or flu.

When those who have COVID-19 lose their sense of taste and smell, it tends to happen very suddenly. One of the distinct differences is in how coronavirus patients are still able to breathe fairly easily when they lose this sense, whereas those with a cold or flu lose their sense of taste and smell as a result of a blocked nose. Experts suspect that this may be attributed to how the COVID-19 virus directly affects the nerve cells used in smell and taste.

It’s not that their taste is impaired because their sense of smell is out of action, stipulated researchers in the journal Rhinology. Coronavirus patients with loss of taste cannot tell the difference between bitter or sweet.

Some of the main symptoms of coronavirus are:

– high temperature

– new, continuous cough

– loss of smell or taste

Lead investigator for Rhinology Professor Carl Philpott from the University of East Anglia, conducted smell and taste tests on 30 volunteers. Ten had tested positive for COVID-19, 10 with bad colds and 10 healthy people with no cold or flu symptoms whatsoever.

Smell loss was much more pronounced in the test subjects with COVID-19. They were less able to identify smells than others, and were unable to discern between bitter or sweet tastes at all.

According to Philpott: “There really do appear to be distinguishing features that set the coronavirus apart from other respiratory viruses. This is very exciting because it means that smell and taste tests could be used to discriminate between COVID-19 patients and people with a regular cold or flu.”

He said those at home can use products such as coffee, garlic, oranges or lemons and sugar to test their sense of taste and smell.

Also read: Why some COVID-19 patients lose their sense of smell

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.