By Eleanor Hayward Health Reporter For The Daily Mail
Published: 19:00 BST, 1 October 2020 | Updated: 21:01 BST, 1 October 2020
Eight in ten people who lose their sense of smell or taste have Covid-19, a new study has revealed.
Researchers found that loss of smell is a ‘highly reliable’ indicator of the virus and often occurs even when patients do not have a cough or fever.
They urged anyone who suddenly finds they cannot smell garlic, onions, coffee or perfume to self-isolate and get tested.
Researchers have called for loss of smell to be recognised globally as a symptom of Covid after study found eight in 10 people with the symptom was carrying the virus (file)
According to a symptom tracker app ran by King's College London, the top five symptoms in under-18s with the virus were fatigue (55 per cent) headaches (53 per cent), fever (49 per cent), sore throat (38 per cent) and loss of appetite (35 per cent). This was different compared to the app’s data on adults; fatigue (87 per cent), headache (72 per cent), loss of smell (60 per cent), persistent cough (54 per cent) and sore throats (49 per cent)
Experts at University College London studied nearly 600 people who lost their sense or smell at the height of the epidemic in April and May.
It found that 78 per cent had antibodies showing that they had the virus. Of these people, 40 per cent did not have a cough or fever.
Lead author, Professor Rachel Batterham (UCL Medicine and UCLH) said: ‘As we approach a second wave of infections, early recognition of Covid-19 symptoms by the public together with rapid self-isolation and testing will be of vital importance to limit the disease’s spread.