Lost senses of smell and taste could be early symptoms of COVID-19

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New symptoms are emerging that could be an indicator a person has contracted COVID-19.

Patients and healthcare professionals are noticing a loss of smell and taste days before other symptoms like high fever, shortness of breath, and dry cough appear.

According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, a growing body of anecdotal reports claim that a reduction or total loss of smell and taste are important symptoms. Patients who have seemed otherwise asymptomatic but have tested positive for COVID-19 say they experienced a diminished sense of smell.

Thomas Mercier, a former UTEP student who lives in Paris, has symptoms indicative of the virus and has not been able to smell or taste since last Friday.

France, like the rest of the world, is overwhelmed with ill people and recommend self-isolation for those who think they have COVID-19.

“They think but can’t really tell if I have it,” Mercier tells KTSM.

For now, medical professionals urge people to notice reduced senses of smell and taste, and to report the symptoms.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology says this poses a risk for healthcare professionals who examine the nasal cavity. Virus particles reside in the nasopharynx and the nasal cavity, which makes those with interaction with these areas susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

“Otolaryngologists and surrounding staff are especially vulnerable to viral transmission directly through mucus, blood, and aerosolized particles when examining or operating in these areas,” said the American Academy of Otolaryngology in a statement.

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