A new study has found that about one in 20 people catches it covid suffer from long-term problems with their smell or taste.
This could mean millions of people around the world searching for at least six months after a covid infection.
Loss or change in sense of smell or taste People can suffer from “severe hardships,” scientists said, as they urged health systems to stand ready to support people who often feel “isolated” when discharged by clinicians.
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They said daily activities like smelling coffee and testing the taste of food can become “gross and emotionally draining.”
The new study, published in The BMJ, reviewed data from 18 studies involving 3,699 patients.
Based on the data, the team of international researchers, including some from the UK, used models to estimate how many people will continue to suffer changed taste or smell for at least six months after a covid infection.
They concluded that an estimated 5.6% of the Covid patients have had an odor disorder for at least six months and 4.4% have an altered taste.
In July there were about 550 million infections worldwide, meaning 15 million had potentially permanent odor problems and 12 million patients taste problems for at least six months, the authors estimated.
Women recovered less often sense of smell and tasteand patients who suffered the most from initial infection were also more likely to have lasting effects.
In a linked editorial, a team of Italian scientists wrote that people “do not realize the importance of smell until it is lost” and that they can be “strongly distressed” when they do lose those senses.
“loss of smell and taste impairs quality of life by depriving sufferers of many everyday pleasures and social connections,” wrote the team, led by Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo of the University of Trieste.
“People can also experience anorexia, food aversions, malnutrition, anxiety and depression,” they added.
They emphasized that parosmia – the experience of a distorted sense of smell – means that for many it “turns a pleasant smell into an unpleasant one”.
This means that “everyday activities like smelling coffee and getting the taste of food can become gross and emotionally draining.”
What support is there for those with long Covid?
NHS England has itsLong covid Action Plan” for thousands of people with persistent symptoms.
Under the plans, people will have access to services close to where they live and receive an initial assessment at a specialist clinic within six weeks.
It is hoped the £90million service will reduce the need for a patient to return to their GP for several different symptoms.
The money will finance 90 specialists long covid clinics, 14 child and adolescent contact points, and investments in training and guidance to support medical teams in managing the disease.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20583837.one-20-covid-patients-suffer-long-term-taste-smell-issues-study-finds/?ref=rss One in 20 Covid patients suffers from long-term taste or smell problems, study says