COVID-19 patients may not recover sense of taste, smell after other symptoms end

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The CDC added a new loss of taste or smell to its list of COVID-19 symptoms at the end of April, and now early data from recovered patients is showing that many may not recover those senses after other symptoms of the disease disappear, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to preliminary data from clinicians, about a quarter of recovered COVID-19 patients say they regained their senses of taste and smell within two weeks of other symptoms disappearing. But long-term data is needed to determine when those who did not report an improvement in two weeks recovered their ability to taste and smell. It could take months, and some physicians say they may never recover those senses, the Journal reports.

This may put up more barriers to full recovery for COVID-19 patients, causing emotional distress and anxiety.

Matt Newey, a 23-year-old man who recovered from COVID-19 in March, told the Journal that he has lost weight because eating has become a laborious process.

"I've gone a day-and-a-half without eating anything," he said. "Because my stomach isn't communicating anymore. It's been like that for a while now."

Mr. Newey also said that not being able to smell has heightened his anxiety because of fears he may not be able to smell a gas leak or smoke at home, putting him in danger.

Pamela Dalton, PhD, a chemosensory scientist and member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, told the Journal that losing the ability to taste or smell can trigger negative emotions since there is less serotonin flowing to the brain, which can contribute to well-being and happiness.

"So, what they're feeling is not just psychological," she said, according to the Journal.

 

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