UNMC investigates loss of smell as COVID-19 symptom

OMAHA, Neb. (KSNB) - Doctors at UNMC are learning about more symptoms that could alert people they may have COVID19. The latest is the discovery of a commonly reported symptom of a loss of the sense of smell.

“We have a real opportunity here,” Nebraska Medicine Otolaryngologist Dr. Christie Barnes said. “So we know there's a good percentage of patients that may have a lack of sense of smell and be essentially otherwise asymptomatic or just have some very mild symptoms. Those people could potentially urge them to self-isolate, to stay home, to stay away from others.”

While the loss of smell can be connected to colds and the flu, it has also been found in coronavirus patients. With limited testing available this could be another way that people would know they may need to isolate themselves.

“If you have these symptoms this may be the only sign you will have of this viral infection and staying home will protect your community, protect your loved ones, and the vulnerable folks in our population,” Dr. Barnes said.

Like with other respiratory viruses the sense of smell often returns when someone has recovered.