People who have difficulty in identifying the smell of peppermint and coconut oil are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, an interesting study on the loss of smell due to COVID-19 found. While 25 per cent of the infected patients failed to recognize the smell of mint, 21 per cent could not smell coconut oil.
Among other symptoms like cough, fever, body-ache and shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste came to be known as the striking symptom of COVID-19. Several researchers tried to conclude whether the loss of smell could be an actual warning sign. The researchers of the India-based study, organized by Beebom, gave five unique odors—peppermint, garlic, coconut oil, fennel and cardamom to the patients to establish the extent of the loss of smell.
Talking about the loss of smell, the research team said, “One possibility is that people with upper respiratory infections often have congestion, drainage and other nasal symptoms that can block the odor’s ability to reach the smell nerve, which sits at the top of the nasal cavity. But we believe the primary cause, particularly for people with extended or permanent loss of smell function, is that the virus causes an inflammatory reaction inside the nose that can lead to a loss of the olfactory, or smell, neurons.”
The sense of taste and smell also gets affected when suffering from a regular cold or flu. Temporary loss of taste and smell happens in over 60 percent of cold and sinus infections. But with COVID-19, the loss of smell and taste can happen suddenly and without a runny or stuffy nose, as in regular cases.
Many studies have shown that losing a sense of taste and smell can be an early sign of COVID-19.