Medically reviewed by Cameron White, M.D., MPH — written by Jill Seladi-Schulman, Ph.D. ~ above October 12, 2020

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COVID-19, the respiratory an illness caused by the new coronavirus, have the right to have a selection of symptoms. Often, the types of symptoms and their severity have the right to vary from human being to person.

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In addition to respiratory tract symptoms choose a cough and shortness that breath, COVID-19 can also have other types of symptoms. Among these is shedding your feeling of odor or taste.

Let’s take it a closer look in ~ the lose of smell and also taste v COVID-19, how typical it is, and also how long these symptoms might last.


It’s not unusual for upper respiratory infections such together the typical cold or flu to impact our senses of smell and also taste. In fact, it’s approximated that a short-term loss of odor happens in over 60 percent that colds and also sinus infections.

Your feeling of taste and also sense of smell are very closely linked. In fact, experiencing a loss of smell have the right to greatly affect your sense of taste. It’s estimated that 95 percent the the time once there’s a loss of taste, it’s linked with a decreased sense of smell.

Loss of odor can take place suddenly in civilization with COVID-19 and also is frequently accompanied by ns of taste. Also, v COVID-19, these symptoms may take place without a runny or stuffy nose.

It’s feasible that a loss of odor or taste can be very early symptom of COVID-19. A current review evaluated eight studies with a total of 11,054 COVID-19 patients. Follow to this review, a lose of smell and taste frequently happened front to various other COVID-19 symptoms.

In particular, a loss of smell may also be a potential indicator the a mild instance of COVID-19. A examine from previously in the pandemic discovered that lose of smell was more closely associated with outpatient care as opposed to hospital admission.


How have the right to COVID-19 cause you to lose your feeling of odor or taste?

It’s tho unclear exactly how a ns of smell and also taste happens through COVID-19, but there room some theories.

SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, binds to a protein dubbed ACE2 that’s discovered on the surface of potential hold cells. ACE2 is numerous on cells found in your nose and mouth.

It’s feasible that the virus can directly invade the nerve cells linked with her senses that smell and taste. However, a current study in the newspaper Science advances has actors doubt ~ above this idea.

Researchers fail to discover ACE2 on nerve cells the detect scents. Instead, they discovered ACE2 ~ above cells that surround and also support these nerve cells. It’s possible that infection of these bordering cells can lead to levels of inflammation or damages that impact your ability to smell.

Less research has actually been done on exactly how COVID-19 especially affects taste. Because loss of smell and loss of taste frequently occur together, it’s at this time believed that human being with COVID-19 likely experience ns of taste together a consequence of lose of smell.


The reported ubiquity of a loss of smell and also taste with COVID-19 different greatly across studies.

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A current study published in mayo Clinic Proceedings took a deep dive into how usual a loss of smell or taste is in COVID-19. Researchers reviewed results from 24 studies, which represented data from over 8,000 world with a confirmed case of COVID-19. They uncovered the following:

The reported prevalence for loss of odor ranged native 3.2 percent come 98.3 percent. The typical prevalence of loss of smell was calculated come be about 41 percent.The reported pervasiveness for loss of taste was in between 5.6 percent to 62.7 percent. The mean prevalence for loss of taste was calculated to be around 38.2 percent.Older age correlated with a lower prevalence of ns of odor or taste.