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Anosmia and Ageusia: Possible Signs of COVID-19

  • 25 Mar 2020
  • 2 min read

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Recently, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists have noted a growing number of patients with anosmia (the abrupt loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of sense of taste). Both anosmia and ageusia could be signs of COVID-19 in people who otherwise appear well.

  • The World Health Organisation lists the most common signs of COVID-19 as fever, tiredness and dry cough.


  • Anosmia is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. This loss may be temporary or permanent.
  • It is caused by a swelling or blockage in the nose that prevents odors from getting to the top of the nose.
  • Respiratory viral infection is a common cause of loss of smell. The sense of smell usually returns when the infection is over.
  • Other main causes of anosmia:
    • Irritation to the mucous membranes lining the nose.
    • Blockage of the nasal passages.
    • Brain or nerve damage.
  • Complications: People with anosmia may not be able to fully taste foods and may lose interest in eating.


  • Ageusia is a condition that is characterized by a complete loss of taste function of the tongue.
    • People who have a reduced ability to taste are said to have hypogeusia.
  • Common Causes:
    • Aging
    • Nasal airway problems.
    • Upper airway infection, such as sinus infection, tonsillitis, or sore throat.

Source: TH

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