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Coronavirus symptoms update: The COVID-19 symptom that can linger longer than others

Coronavirus has dominated 2020 thus far, and people who have caught the disease may find that one symptom lingers longer than the rest.

On Thursday July 9, a new research paper was released that had some illuminating findings.

Data was collected from 187 patients who were treated for COVID-19 at Treviso Regional Hospital in Italy, back in March.

Springtime was when Italy reached the peak of its coronavirus outbreak.


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The scientists found that around two-thirds (113 patients) reported loss of taste and/or smell up to two weeks before testing positive for the virus.

This surprised the researchers, as the loss of smell (anosmia) and loss of taste (dyspepsia) weren’t originally considered to be common symptoms of COVID-19.

Back then, the NHS only shared a new, continuous cough and feeling hot to touch as the main symptoms of the disease.

Four weeks after their infection dates, approximately half of them noted that they had yet to fully recover their lost senses.

Twelve of the 113 patients said their ability to smell and/or taste “was unchanged or worse” from a month previous.

Forty-six commented that the loss of smell had become less severe, but was still noticeable.

The remaining 55 people said their senses had been completely restored.

Results were published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

The authors of the study said: “Although altered sense of smell or taste showed an improvement in most cases during the course of the disease, these symptoms were still the most frequently reported by patients with COVID-19 four weeks after testing.”

In comparison, out of the 113 patients who were examined, only 36 of them reported they still had coughs one month after infection.

For the same time period, 26 of them said they had difficulty breathing and only five still reported fevers.

On average, patients couldn’t smell or taste anything for 11 days.


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The researchers delved further into their research to see if a further diagnosis of COVID-19 – one month down the line – could explain the persistent loss of taste or smell.

However, the data revealed no correlation between the two. In fact, it’s theorised that people still suffering from a loss of smell and/or taste may not have an active infection.

Instead, the researchers suggest that it takes the body time to “repair and regenerate” the senses – regardless of whether or not the virus has left the body.

The age and sex of the volunteers in the study were not found to be significant factors affecting the rate of recovery for anosmia or dysgeusia.

The loss of taste and smell is now regarded by the NHS as one of the main symptoms of COVID-19.

But, it did take the symptom a while to be recognised, as it wasn’t added to the NHS website until late May.

Now, anybody who has noticed they can’t smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal, are advised to self-isolate.

Self-isolation means staying indoors and ordering a test as soon as possible.

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  • Posted on July 11, 2020