the sudden loss of taste and smell, “specific” symptoms of Covid-19?


INTERVIEWThese are symptoms identified more and more often in patients with coronavirus: the sudden loss of smell and taste without having a stuffy nose. Recently discovered, “this symptomatology is completely specific to the coronavirus”, according to ORL Alain Corre. First to have alerted the authorities to “this strange phenomenon”, he returns to the microphone of the program “Sans Rendez-vous” on Europe 1 on this “fundamental” discovery which makes it possible to avoid testing patients, and explains the process to follow if we see these troubles ourselves.

How was the discovery made?

It is on a discussion forum which brings together 4,000 ENTs that the first cases of this strange symptom were reported. Intrigued, Alain Corre and an infectiologist “met by chance” decide to develop a study to make a link with the coronavirus. Sixty patients are thus tested and “in the light of the results”, they conclude that there is a direct relationship with Covid-19.

Are the two symptoms necessarily linked?

“Age [perte de goût] and anosmia [perte d’odorat] are often mixed, because the taste is linked to smell “, recalls the specialist at the microphone of Europe 1.” When you put a food in your mouth, its taste is given by smell “, with four exceptions: the sweet, the salty, the bitter and the acid. As for knowing if these symptoms are serious, the ENT wants to be reassuring, “it is very often reversible within five to ten days. But we don’t know if everyone will recover, we don’t have enough perspective on the disease yet. ”

If these symptoms may appear abnormal for a respiratory disease, the doctor cautiously suggests that “this coronavirus has a particular appetite for the nerves, and therefore the nerve cells”. In the case of smell, it is therefore “no coincidence” if the virus “attacks the olfactory cells”, especially since ageusia and anosmia are usually linked to viral diseases, such as influenza.

How common are these symptoms in all cases?

“As we launched the alert, it seems to be full, but perhaps it concerns quite a few people compared to the number of cases. An investigation is being carried out, but we do not will know that at the end of the epidemic if it was frequent. ”

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

“For the moment, nothing,” insists Alain Corre. “We have no idea how to treat these symptoms, but we know what not to do: don’t take cortisone, and don’t wash your nose with saline.” But not taking treatment does not prevent you from taking “a telephone appointment with your doctor”. One watchword, therefore: isolate yourself. “It is the only specific sign of this disease which makes it possible not to be tested, it is fundamental.”

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