What is anosmia?

What is anosmia?

Update: 2020-05-21
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What is anosmia? Thanks for asking!


Anosmia is the clinical name for a complete loss of the sense of smell. Awareness of the disorder is somewhat low, and there is no known cure. But as many as 5% of people are impacted. With odor being intrinsically linked to taste, most sufferers also have some kind of alteration to their sense of taste. Permanent anosmia can be brought on by damage to olfactory neurons, or a brain injury. More rarely it is a congenital condition, which means the sufferer has no sense of smell from the day they are born. Temporary anosmia has been observed in a number of Covid-19 patients, drawing attention to the condition. It’s increasingly being recognized as an early symptom of the virus, with some countries like the USA and France adding it to public health guidelines. The World Health Organization also officially added it to its list of symptoms in mid-May.


Should those who lose their sense of smell be worried then?


Some data has shown that anosmia is most often experienced by those with less severe cases of the disease. Researchers from the US Department of Defense looked at a group of 169 Covid-19 patients and found that those who required hospitalization were far less likely to report a loss of smell or taste. The study’s summary went like this: “We and others have observed that anosmia manifests either early in the disease process or in patients with mild or no constitutional symptoms.” While that may sound reassuring, the authors warned that it was still too early to draw definitive conclusions. 


So how does COVID-19 actually cause anosmia? And if I recover from Covid-19, will my anosmia go away? In under 3 minutes, we answer your questions!


For other questions about the coronavirus pandemic, you can click here:

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What is anosmia?

What is anosmia?