Can’t Smell These Items? You Might Have COVID-19

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Losing your sense of smell is known to be one of the most common COVID-19 indicators. According to a New York Times article, more than 87 percent of coronavirus infected patients experienced the loss of smell and taste. Moreover, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has stated that about 25 percent of patients experience loss of smell as a first and only symptom. So if you feel like your sense of smell isn’t as strong as it was, chances are you’ve contracted COVID-19.

In fact, the loss of smell, or medically referred to as anosmia, is COVID-19’s hallmark that can be the main indicator of the disease. According to research, there are items that have a strong scent, so not being able to smell them might be a good indicator for diagnosis. The study was made in India, so the researchers found five scents that most Indian citizens have in their households at all times.

They have discovered that those who couldn’t properly smell peppermint and coconut oil were most likely to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Even though the researchers found 25 items for their study, five of them were proven to be the most efficient: coconut oil, peppermint, garlic, cardamom, and fennel.

More than 50 percent of asymptomatic patients couldn’t smell these five items, coconut oil and peppermint being the most misidentified items from the list. 36.7 percent of study participants misidentified peppermint, while 24.5 percent couldn’t feel its smell at all. Additionally, 22.4 percent misidentified coconut oil, while 20.4 percent couldn’t smell it.

Anosmia often occurs in COVID-19 patients because people experience congestion and drainage, causing the smell nerve to block the access. Moreover, according to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “the virus causes an inflammatory reaction inside the nose that can lead to a loss of the olfactory, or smell, neurons.”

The researchers made the five-item list because they wanted to help those who feel like something is wrong, but they do no have COVID-19 symptoms. Nonetheless, smelling the items mentioned above might help you understand if you are infected or not. However, make sure you get tested as well in order to be 100% sure.

“Given the non-availability/expensive nature of testing kits, this test may enable us to perform rapid and wider testing,” the researchers explained.

“In addition to this, the test has the potential to be one of the preliminary scanning methods along with infrared thermometry at the entry points of hospitals, government, and private offices, shops, and other places of public dealing in order to have a safe cordon.”

To sum up, this is not a very accurate solution and it shouldn’t replace testing, but it can encourage people to take the test.

If you want to find out if you have COVID-19 or not, read on to find the five items that most Americans have in their pantry, items that could indicate a possible coronavirus infection!

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1. Garlic

According to Professor Carl Philpott from Fifth Sense, a U.K. based charity supporting people affected by smell and taste disorders, garlic is one of the items that most people have in their household, and also a good indicator for COVID-19.

He wrote in his COVID Symptom Study, that garlic, coffee, and coconut are the items you can use in order to find out if you have COVID-19 or not. He mentioned that even though those items are proven to be very efficient, you can smell other strong scents you might find in your home, so you don’t have to buy something just to make these tests.

He also explained that you should be very careful with the items you smell. For example, stay away from items like bleach, air freshener, or other strong scents, as they can damage your nasal passage.

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2. Coffee

Who doesn’t love the scent of coffee in the morning? I feel bad for the people that can’t feel the smell. If you’re one of those people that can’t feel the strong coffee aroma in the morning then maybe it’s time to get tested for COVID-19.

According to Proteus Duxbury, former chief technology officer for the Colorado health insurance exchange, who contracted COVID-19 in March, coffee helped him understand that he’s positive for the virus, before getting tested.

He told Kaiser Health News that even though he didn’t experience cough, headache fever, or shortness of breath, what he found very weird was the fact that everything tasted like cardboard. He figured it out when he made a cup of coffee in the morning and when he tasted it, he felt nothing.

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3. Essential oils

If you like essential oils and have them in your home, make sure to include them in your “smell test.” Carl Philpott suggests smelling one essential oil every day as a barometer.
“Spray some of the liquid on a fragrance strip or a tissue and hold underneath your nose and inhale,” he added.

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4. Shampoo

Another item that most people have in their homes is shampoo. If you’re having a shower and you can’t feel the scent of the shampoo you’re always using, then maybe it’s time to get tested for COVID-19.

Philpott suggests sniffing a coconut shampoo just to be sure. If you can’t feel the fragrance of the shampoo at all, make sure to talk to your doctor.

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5. Citrus

Lastly, but not least, citrus is also a good indicator of COVID-19. You can use lemons, oranges, or limes, and if you can’t feel the smell or the taste, then you’re probably infected with COVID-19.

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