COVID-19 patients found to have lost sense of smell, taste

Lahore, 1st July: From Beijing’s recent coronavirus outbreak, some Chinese patients were found to have lost, either fully or partially, their sense of smell or taste. Many wondered if they would ever regain these senses or not.

Medical experts had assured the patients that the majority of them would regain these senses eventually as they recovered from coronavirus, adding that COVID-19 patients during the Wuhan outbreak also showed these symptoms, according to the Sichuan-based Red Star News.

Deputy director of Beijing Ditan Hospital which is designated for COVID-19 patients, Wu Guoan, said at a press conference last week that most coronavirus patients in Beijing developed typical symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough and diarrhea, however, 33 patients also reported a change in their sense of smell, while 21 in their sense of taste. These changes were only seldom mentioned in the Wuhan outbreak.

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Wang Guiqiang, a doctor from Peking university first Hospital, said that many COVID-19 patients in Wuhan also experienced a deterioration in their sense of smell and taste, but these mild symptoms were overlooked in front of the critical symptoms they were suffering from like high fever and difficulty in breathing.

Wang said that patients should not worry about losing their sense of smell or taste, as the majority would recover these senses if it was a result of respiratory infections caused by a coronavirus.

Sheng Jiefang, a doctor at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University said that about 10 percent of COVID-19 patients had lost their sense of smell and taste as well.

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In regards to the concerns that loss of sense of smell and taste as a consequence of COVID-19 treatment, Sheng said that there was no evidence of nerve damage by the treatment or medication.

However, COVID-19 is very similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in both gene sequencing and symptoms, for example, serious lung injury and pleural effusion. 36 percent of SARS patients developed pulmonary fibrosis, hence some are concerned that pulmonary fibrosis could also be a consequence of having COVID-19.

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In response to this, a Chinese top respiratory disease expert, Zhong Nanshan, said in April that he did not believe this was the case, as COVID-19 patients had a mild form of pulmonary fibrosis in comparison to SARS patients and their lung infections could eventually recover.

COVID-19 patients were also concerned that they might get the disease again in two or three years, but a respiratory expert from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Hu Ke, explained to Hubei Daily that such worries had no scientific basis and are totally unfounded.

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