FOX10 News continues to answer your questions about the novel coronavirus. A sudden loss of smell or taste can be one of the earliest signs of COVID-19.

Our latest Ask A COVID Question wants to know: When will smell, taste come back?

Who loses their smell?

Smell loss can be one of the first or only signs of disease and may precede symptoms such as cough and fever, Dr. Turner said, citing spring data from VUMC's Smell and Taste Center.  

A study published Jan. 5 in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that 86 percent of patients with mild COVID-19 cases experienced anosmia, compared with 4 percent to 7 percent of those with moderate to severe cases. The research analyzed data from 2,581 patients in France, Belgium and Italy.  

Will COVID-19 patients get their sense of smell back? 

Of 2,581 COVID-19 patients studied, 95 percent of patients regained their sense of smell within six months, according to the study in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

For most patients, COVID-19 infection is unlikely to permanently damage olfactory neural circuits and lead to persistent anosmia, Dr. Datta said, adding, "Once the infection clears, olfactory neurons don't appear to need to be replaced or rebuilt from scratch. But we need more data and a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms to confirm this conclusion."

If so, when do COVID-19 patients get their sense of smell back? 

The average time of olfactory dysfunction reported by patients was 21.6 days, according to the study in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Nearly a quarter of the 2,581 COVID-19 patients studied didn't regain smell and taste within 60 days of infection.  

Medical professionals say prevention is your best protection. You should continue or start measures to avoid spreading a communicative disease:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
  • Wear face coverings
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Minimize contact with other people
  • Keep 6 to 8 feet away from others

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