Doctors say new symptoms of COVID-19 are loss of taste, smell

We're learning something new about it everyday.

Fred Bodimer
March 26, 2020 - 4:48 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-  Reports of a loss of the sense of smell or taste, also known as Anosmia, are being associated with the latest symptoms of COVID-19 from all over the world.  

Doctors now say a loss of taste or smell may be a telltale sign of coronavirus -- even without other symptoms.  

"If this is a symptom that's popping up and people have said it, I think it's worth paying attention to," said Dr. Fred Buckhold.

Dr. Fred Buckhold is an SLU Care general internist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  "So if you're noticing these things, or you just feel off, continue to stay home and avoid others -- although you should already be at home anyway at this point if you are living in the St. Louis region."

Another possible new early symptom for COVID-19 is red itchy eyes.  Doctors say they're seeing symptoms similar to pink eye, which is a bacterial infection of the eye.  Viral pink eye results in having itchy eyes and discharge of thick, sticky mucus.  

CBS News reports the American Academy of Opthalmology is warning eye doctors to be wary of patients who have pink eye combined with fever and respiratory symptoms -- including cough and shortness of breath.  

"So if there are other symptoms and we haven't asked for them, but people are bringing them up, we need to pay them some attention," said Dr. Buckhold.

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That's why COVID-19 is called a novel coronavirus says Dr. Buckhold.  He says we are learning something new about it every day.

While possible pink eye and a loss of taste or smell are the newest possible symptoms, Dr. Buckhold says don't forget the most common ones. 

"The ones you're hearing about are the sniffles, and a sore throat -- for those you probably don't need to seek medical attention," said Dr. Buckhold.  The ones we really worry about are fever, malaise -- just feeling really bad -- and certainly shortness of breath.  And that shortness of breath won't be just here and there, it will be pretty progressive and constant throughout a certain time frame -- like multiple hours throughout the day.  That's when you need to seek medical attention and get evaluated.  But fever is the most common symptom and shortness of breath is the most concerning."

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