The blurry outline of a nose.

Why You Need to Know About Anosmia

By Aileen Kwun
March 28, 2020
2 minute read

News reports suggest that self-quarantining efforts may need to continue for the next several months, all but canceling the now-cursed year that is 2020. A great deal of that vague and looming uncertainty lies in the fact that the novel coronavirus has both a quick transmission rate and a prolonged incubation period. The onset of symptoms, which may include shortness of breath, fever, and dry cough, may not begin to appear for up to two weeks after one is infected—which is just one reason why it’s important to stay home and practice social distancing, even if you feel just fine. Even still more puzzling to experts is that many of those infected may feel only mild symptoms, or none at all, increasing the risk and likelihood of passing the illness along to others. All these challenges are compounded by a severe shortage of medical supplies and tests to alleviate, treat, and isolate confirmed cases.

As people around the world stay home, awaiting conclusive signs of sickness and hoping for none at all, a “hidden” symptom has been found to stem from the infection: anosmia, a sudden loss of the sense of smell (often along with ageusia, the loss of taste). It has been noted in cases globally and is now considered a tell-tale sign of infection among both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. If, while cooking or anxiety-baking during your stay-at-home stint, you find yourself with a curious loss of smell, it could be a sign for you to calmly give your doctor a call.