Could losing your sense smell be the first sign of COVID-19?

Medical experts in countries hit by COVID-19 are reporting that one of the first signs of COVID-19 infection may be an unexpected loss of your sense of smell.

Experts are saying this could be a key clinical indicator for people who are otherwise symptom-free carriers of the virus.

“While further research is required, loss of smell (anosmia) has been reported in as many as 1 in 3 patients in South Korea,” says Professor Simon Carney, Professor of Otolaryngology at Flinders University.

“An ENT [ear, nose and throat] professor in London has reported seeing a dramatic increase in ansomia as their only symptom of COVID-19 infection.”

Professor Carney says that one of the reasons for COVID-19 spreading so rapidly around the world is due to the ‘silent carriers’ – those who are symptom-free and remain undetected.

Identification of these carriers could help to slow the spread of infection.

“Australia is in a position to take advantage of these findings overseas to try and ‘flatten the curve’ while we still can,” continues Professor Carney.

“Doctors and COVID-19 detection centres could use this subtle sign and unexplained anosmia in the testing criteria.”