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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 186-190

Smell and taste disturbances among COVID-19 patients: Our experiences

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Correspondence Address:
Santosh Kumar Swain
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, IMS and SUM Hospital, Siksha “O” Anusandhan University, Bhubaneswar-751003, Odisha.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/MJBL.MJBL_64_20

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Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection is caused by a novel coronal virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The common symptoms of the COVID-19 patients include cough, fever, dyspnea, and myalgia. However, the disturbances of the smell and taste are the important clinical presentations of the COVID-19 patients. Objectives: The objective of this study is to assess the olfactory dysfunction among COVID-19 patients. Materials and Methods: This is a retrospective study, which included COVID-19 patients between March 2020 and August 2020. There were 192 COVID-19 patients evaluated to find out loss of smell and taste. The diagnosis was done from nasopharyngeal swab with laboratory confirmed reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction positive for COVID-19. All the participating patients were undergoing proper otorhinolaryngological examinations, including anterior rhinoscopy, cold spatula tests, and diagnostic nasal endoscopy for proper evaluation of the nose, nasopharynx, and paranasal sinuses. Results: There were 112 patients (58.33%) olfactory dysfunction and 86 patients had taste disturbances out of the 192 COVID-19 patients. The mean age of the 112 patients was 52.42 years. Out of the 112 patients, 74 (66.07%) were male and 38 (33.92%) were female. Out of the 112 patients, 32 were presented with pneumonia during their hospitalization. Olfactory dysfunction began 5.4 (4–12) days. The mean duration of the anosmia was 9.2 (4–22) days and 96% of the cases recovered within 26 days. Conclusion: Smell and taste disturbances are the important clinical markers for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Testing the smell and taste in this COVID-19 pandemic may be helpful for the early identification of the COVID-19 patients and initiate early treatment or quarantine.

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