If you contracted COVID-19 and have recovered, this is a must read for you.
Scientists warn that many COVID-19 survivors who lost their sense of taste and smell may not regain them after other symptoms of the disease have disappeared.
According to preliminary data from doctors, about a quarter of recovered COVID-19 patients say that their sense of taste and smell returned within two weeks after other symptoms disappeared.
The researchers, however, said long-term data is needed to determine when those who did not report an improvement within two weeks regained their ability to taste and smell.
“It could take months, and some doctors say they may never regain those senses.” the scientists warned; adding, “This can create further barriers to full recovery for COVID-19 patients, causing emotional distress and anxiety.”
Speaking to our correspondent on the matter, Public Health Doctor Dr. Helen Omuh says that loss of smell in COVID 19 is usually temporary and will reset in two to four weeks.
However, Omuh said that if the loss of smell does not recover within two to four weeks, patients should see their doctors to get checked as soon as possible to rule out the presence of other diseases.
He said that impaired sense of smell could be prevented if people avoid things to which they are allergic.
Omuh, who is deputy director / department head of prevention, care and treatment at the Nigerian Institute of Human Virology, said that the loss of the sense of smell, called anosmia, is one of the symptoms of the coronavirus disease caused by SARS. -CoV-2. infection.
“It has been reported that more than 50 percent of patients develop the symptoms, making them more common than fever and cough.
“The exact mechanism is unknown, but a team of international researchers, led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School, reported that the nerves responsible for smell (called olfactory sensory neurons) do not express the ACE2 receptor proteins that the virus requires to enter. to cells. .
“However, these proteins are found in cells that provide metabolic and structural support to olfactory sensory neurons. It is infection of these cells that causes temporary loss of smell in COVID-19 patients.
“There is peace of mind that the loss of smell in COVID-19 is usually temporary and will be restored in two to four weeks. But if it doesn’t recover, see your doctor for a check-up as soon as possible to rule out other diseases and treat those that are treatable, ”Omuh advised.
The World Health Organization, in May, had added loss of smell and taste to its list of COVID-19 symptoms, which are headache, fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, skin rash or discoloration of fingers and toes and conjunctivitis.
According to the WHO, the most serious symptoms are shortness of breath or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement.
In addition to COVID-19, Omuh also identified drug use such as cocaine and allergic rhinitis as common causes of impaired sense of smell.
“Allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose due to an allergy; Septum deviation which is the lateral displacement of the wall between the nostrils with unilateral nasal obstruction.
“Other common causes are post-viral like the common cold virus; neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases; or psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia; as well as a head injury, ”explained Omuh.
For less common causes, he added, “Systemic diseases with nasal manifestations, such as granulomatous with polyangiitis; causes related to medical care such as nasal surgery, laryngectomy and medication; among others.”
On how to prevent impaired sense of smell, the doctor urged people to adhere to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control’s infection prevention and control guidelines to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19.
Omuh also advised people to avoid things they are allergic to and to avoid using illicit drugs.
“Guarantee the treatment of possible diseases or underlying causes; for example, the doctor may change or stop the medication.
“For treatable causes, be sure to see a doctor for a detailed review and diagnosis,” he said.
For people who suddenly developed an impaired sense of smell, he advised them to isolate themselves until they were tested for COVID 19.