Home Health & Medical One in 10 Covid patients who lose their sense of taste and...

One in 10 Covid patients who lose their sense of taste and smell DON’T get it back

CORONAVIRUS patients who lose their sense of taste and smell may never get the sensations back, experts have claimed.

A loss of taste and smell are recognised as core symptoms of Covid-19 along with a new continuous cough and a high temperature.

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One in ten people who lose their sense of smell or taste may never get it backCredit: Alamy Live News

New research states that one in ten patients who lose these senses may never get them back.

Researchers compiled their data from Italian patients and found that 49 per cent had fully regained their sense of smell or taste after recovering from the virus.

This is while just 40 per cent reported improvements and 10 per cent said their symptoms had worsened.

So far in the UK more than 43,000 people have died from the virus and globally around 521,000 people are believed to have died.

A loss of taste and smell (anosmia) were symptoms that were added to key signs of the virus at a later stage after a number of people presented with them.

The NHS states that anyone experiencing these symptoms should take precautions and should isolate for 14 days.

Experts published their findings in the journal of JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

The researchers have now warned that thousands of people could face long-term health issues because of the virus.

What is anosmia?

Anosmia is when you lose your sense of smell, which can be due to a number of different reasons. On May 18 the government added loss of sense and smell to the official list of coronavirus symptoms.

The most common include:

  • a cold or flu
  • a sinus infection
  • an allergy – like hay fever
  • growths in your nose

It’s estimated 6,000 people in the UK are born without a sense of smell and it can be diagnosed by doctors by using acetylcysteine tests.

Often the condition can be unpleasant and affect your enjoyment of food.

It may go away in weeks or months by itself, but there are certain things you can do to alleviate it.

This includes rinsing the inside of your nose with a salt water solution, if your loss of smell has been caused by an infection or allergy.

You can also pick up sachets and a device from some pharmacies which can help you make a salt water solution.

The researchers surveyed 187 Italians who had the virus but did not go to hospital.

They were asked to rate their sense of smell and taste when they were first diagnosed with Covid-19.

Then a month after they were asked to rate their senses again.

Of those who were surveyed 113 reported an alteration in their sense of smell and/or taste.


This is while 55 participants said they had fully recovered, 46 said their symptoms had improved and 12 found their symptoms had stayed the same or had gotten worse.

Patients who said they had severe symptoms said it took them longer to get better.

Writing in the journal, Dr Joshua Levy said there are “frustratingly low interventions” for people experiencing these issues.

Dr Levy, who is a specialist at the Emory University School of Medicine, said: “Even with a high rate of resolution, the staggering number affected by this evolving pandemic suggests an almost certain deluge of patients likely to present for the treatment of unresolved symptoms.”

Dr Levy advised that in long-term cases people should consider smell training in order for them to regain their senses.

This is while another expert said some people recover quicker than others due to how many cells are affected.


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One of the researchers on the study and the president of the British Rhinological Society Dr Claire Hopkins said some people will get better but others will recover slowly.

Speaking to the BBC she added:”For people who recover more quickly it is likely the virus has only affected the cells lining their nose.

“For people who recover more slowly it may be that the virus has affected the nerves involved in smell, too. It can take longer for these nerve cells to repair and regenerate.”

She added that charities such as AbScent are a great resource for people struggling to deal with their symptoms.

Matt Hancock says loss of taste and smell now on official list of coronavirus symptoms


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