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86% of COVID Patients Have This Symptom, Study Says

This symptom signifies a mild infection.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Alek Korab
Stressed tired woman

Fever, shortness of breath, dry cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, fatigue—all common signs of a COVID-19 infection. However, new research has identified one of these symptoms as being one of the most common of all. Even more? If you experience it, it is a sign that your infection is likely mild. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

86% of Mild COVID Patients Lost Their Senses

According to the study published this week in the Journal of Internal Medicine, and overwhelming percentage of people—86% to be exact—suffering from mild COVID-19 infections suffer a loss of sense of smell and taste. The research involved over 2,500 patients from 18 European hospitals. Interestingly, only 4%-7% of people with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections reported a loss of smell or taste. It also found a correlation between the symptom and age of patient. Those who were younger had a higher rate of olfactory dysfunction than older patients. 

The most common symptoms reported by those with moderate infections who had "clinical signs of pneumonia" were cough, fever and difficulty breathing, while those with severe or critical cases experienced severe respiratory distress, with a greater likelihood of being older and having "hypertension, diabetes, gastric disorders, renal, respiratory, heart, liver and neurological disorders."

The good news? 75% to 85% of patients were no longer experiencing loss of sense of smell and taste two months after their initial infection, while 95% of people who reported the symptom had their senses return by the six months mark. However, the remaining five percent still had not yet recovered olfactory function at that point. 

"Olfactory dysfunction is more prevalent in mild COVID-19 forms than in moderate-to-critical forms, and 95% of patients recover their sense of smell at 6-months post-infection," lead author Jerome R. Lechien, MD, Ph.D., MS, of Paris Saclay University stated in a press release. 

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How to Survive This Pandemic

As for yourself, follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.