If You Have This COVID Symptom, You Likely Won't End Up in the Hospital

Finally, some good news if you have this surprising coronavirus symptom.

While there's no such thing as a good coronavirus symptom, research increasingly shows that some symptoms are associated with better outcomes than others. The CDC recently published an analysis of COVID's characteristics as described by both inpatient and outpatient individuals, and determined that people that reported having had a loss of taste or smell were less likely to wind up in the hospital than those that reported other symptoms.

According to that analysis, 43 percent of inpatients reported having a loss of taste or smell at some point during their sickness, compared with 72 percent of inpatients who reported having had dyspnea, a shortness of breath or labored breathing.

While of course it makes sense that people with labored breathing would be more likely to seek medical attention, it's worth noting that the majority of those more severe patients never had a loss of taste or smell. Though some individuals present with both symptoms, having one symptom or the other seems to indicate two different prognoses.

A study from UC San Diego published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology seemed to confirm this finding, concluding that olfactory impairment is frequently associated with mild or moderate cases of coronavirus.

Carol Yan, MD, a rhinologist and head and neck surgeon at UC San Diego Health who worked on the study, explained the findings in a press release. "What's notable in the new findings is that it appears that loss of smell may be a predictor that a SARS-CoV-2 infection will not be as severe, and less likely to require hospitalization," said Yan. "If an infected person loses that sense, it seems more likely they will experience milder symptoms, barring other underlying risk factors," she added.

So, if you find that your sense of taste or smell has mysteriously disappeared, don't panic. Yes, you need to assume you have coronavirus and take serious precautions not to spread it to others, but the odds are in your favor that you'll have a milder case, and an unassisted recovery. And for another good reason to stay vigilant against spreading coronavirus, find out why 50 Percent of Coronavirus Patients Experience This Terrifying Side Effect.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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