The Loss of Smell and Taste are Early Indicators of COVID-19

Doctors around the world are shedding new light on the initial symptoms people should watch for as early indicators of COVID-19. 

The loss of smell and taste are being reported as early signs of the virus. According to Dr. Paul Manoukian, a physician at Sierra Nevada Ear, Nose & Throat, people are experiencing these changes in their senses before other symptoms like fatigue, fever, shortness of breath or chest pains. 

Dr. Manoukian said that in speaking to colleagues about cases around northern Nevada, the majority of the people who had or have COVID-19 suffered from a loss of smell as one of the initial symptoms.

He said this news is surprising because it wasn’t released with the first batch of information from Wuhan, China.

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 

Dr. Manoukian also explained that the virus can spread through coughing and sneezing, that’s why it’s important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with the inside of your elbow.

People who do experience a loss of smell and taste should self-isolate for at least 14 days, except to seek medical care. 

Fortunately, the loss of smell and taste is not permanent, and this initial indicator could play a big role in saving lives. 

This story originally aired on KOLO 8 News Now on March 30, 2020.