Some 86% of people with mild cases of Covid-19 lose their sense of smell and taste but recover it within six months, according to a study of over 2,500 patients from 18 European hospitals.
A case of Covid-19 was considered mild if there was no evidence of viral pneumonia or loss of oxygen and the patient was able to recover at home.
The sense of smell reappeared after 18 to 21 days, the study found, but about 5% of people had not recovered olfactory function at six months.
Anosmia, which is a loss of smell, and therefore taste, was suggested as an early sign of Covid-19. It can occur without any warning, not even a stuffy nose.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, “Anosmia…has been seen in patients ultimately testing positive for the coronavirus with no other symptoms.”
Comparatively, the study found only 4 to 7% of people with moderate to severe symptoms of Covid-19 lost their ability to smell and taste.