Loss of taste, smell 'early symptom of infection'

Loss of taste, smell 'early symptom of infection'

A medical official is collecting a sample from a taxi driver for a Covid-19 test in Samut Prakan province last week. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
A medical official is collecting a sample from a taxi driver for a Covid-19 test in Samut Prakan province last week. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Royal College of Otolaryngologists-Head and Neck Surgeons of Thailand has urged doctors to pay special attention to signs of anosmia, also known as smell blindness, which affects many Covid-19 patients at the onset of the symptoms.

Two-thirds of the patients infected with the new coronavirus experience this specific condition, Prof Dr Saowarot Phattharaphakdi, chairwoman of the royal college, said in an announcement regarding Covid-19 on Tuesday.

More and more studies have found a link between Covid-19 infections and incidents of anosmia, she said.

Anosmia was found to be more common in patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19, she said, adding that the prevalence rate of anosmia in this group is as high as 30%.

Under the circumstances, the royal college is urging medical specialists to be cognisant of anosmia as it can present a credible indication of Covid-19 infection in the patients they treat, Dr Saowarot said.

The royal college is also recommending testing all patients who develop sudden isolated anosmia, she said.

The royal college also warned against administering oral steroids for treating anosmia in potential Covid-19 infected patients, she said.

The first known Covid-19 infected patient who also experienced anosmia in Thailand was a person in Sakhon Nakhon who had returned from Phuket where she worked, said Prof Dr Saowarot.

Also, a 22-year-old woman in Prachin Buri who was recorded as the province's fifth Covid-19 case previously shared her ordeal on social media, saying she also temporarily lost her sense of smell.

She said she had dined out on March 21 with friends and two days later was surprised to find herself unable to smell anything or taste food.

She had assumed that she had allergy until March 26 when she learned from one of her friends who she had dined out with that he had the virus and from whom she believes she had become infected.

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