Those who are infected with corona typically suffer from flu-like symptoms such as dry cough and fever. Now researchers have also discovered a new set of symptoms: a loss of smell and taste lasting several days.
Anyone who suffers from a common cold with a runny nose knows the problem: Even the beloved favorite dish no longer tastes good. Researchers at the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn have now discovered the same phenomenon in corona patients in the district of Heinsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia), which is particularly affected by Covid-19 .
Patients with a moderate course of the disease
The patients surveyed, who generally showed only very mild to moderate symptoms of Covid 19 , complained of loss of smell and taste.“With our first patient we met, we didn’t take it so seriously that he no longer liked the food. But then the same statement came with the second. ”Prof. Hendrik Streeck, Head of the Institute of Virology, University Hospital Bonn
We taste with the nose
In order for us to taste food, the sense of smell and taste usually work together. They make it possible for us to enjoy the food, but also warn against inedible things. When we eat food, scent molecules rise from the mouth into the nose. Olfactory cells take them up and pass them on to the brain. In fact, we don’t taste most of the flavorings in the food, we smell them. If the nose is blocked, this aroma transport fails due to the swollen mucous membranes in the nose – the food appears bland.
Loss of taste and smell without runny nose
In connection with the Corona patients in Heinsberg, however, the researchers now found that the sufferers had temporarily lost their sense of smell and taste. And this despite the fact that they did not suffer from runny nose or a stuffy nose.“One patient complained that he no longer smelled the shampoo in the shower. A mother could no longer see the full diapers of the newborn. And a nurse even tested her olfactory ability with vinegar essence when she told us about it. ”Prof. Hendrik Streeck, Head of the Institute of Virology, University Hospital Bonn
The cause of the new symptoms is unclear
The researchers are currently still puzzling why the Covid 19 patients lose their sense of smell and taste. After all, the Bonn virologists were able to determine these disease characteristics in 70 percent of the patients surveyed in Heinsberg. However, it seems certain that the loss of sensory perception only occurs over a short period of time, namely over two to three days.“It creeps up and then disappears again. But it was a noticeable symptom during the coronavirus infection. ”Prof. Hendrik Streeck, Head of the Institute of Virology, University Hospital Bonn.
“It is noticeable that if you suddenly have an odor loss, it is certainly an indication that you may be infected with the corona virus. But other viral infections can also cause an odor loss. Only Corona proves to be very typical,” testifies Philippe Gevaert, ear, nose and throat doctor at UZ Gent on VRT radio.
It is a caution to be extra careful
“If your olfactory nerve self-ignites, it can literally cause temporary damage. With the corona virus you have both: less smell due to snot, but also damage to the olfactory nerve. In 70 percent of viral infections, the odor loss recovers quickly Corona infection can take several months to a year for the sense of smell to come back, “concludes Gevaert.
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