If You Have This Symptom, There's an 80 Percent Chance You Have COVID

This one symptom is "a highly reliable indicator that someone is likely to have COVID-19."

It's been almost impossible to predict what symptoms of coronavirus any given person will experience. Some become seriously ill with issues like respiratory failure, others experience stomach pains, and nearly half never have so much as a slight fever. But as numbers surge to new heights across the U.S. and with many fearing Thanksgiving made it worse, you might be looking more deeply into every little sniffle and ache these days. While overlapping symptoms could mean you have the flu or allergies, according to a recent study, there's one tell-tale COVID symptom that 80 percent of patients exhibit: a loss of sense of smell. Read on for the study's findings, and for another update on the virus, check out The Vaccine Will Only Keep You Safe From COVID for This Long, Fauci Says.

The recent study was conducted by a team from University College London, who studied 590 patients in the U.K. who reported suddenly losing either their sense of smell or taste; 567 of the patients were then given coronavirus tests. Their results, which were published in the journal PLoS Medicine on Oct. 1, showed that 80.4 percent of subjects reporting anosmia—AKA the loss of smell—and 77.7 percent of those who lost their sense of taste tested positive.

"Our findings show that loss of smell and taste is a highly reliable indicator that someone is likely to have COVID-19 and if we are to reduce the spread of this pandemic, it should now be considered by governments globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing, and contact tracing," Rachel Batterham, MD, study leader from University College London and University College London Hospitals, said in a statement. "People who notice a loss in their ability to smell every day household odors such as garlic, coffee, and perfumes should self-isolate and seek PCR testing."

Mounting evidence has pointed to the loss of smell as one of the most reliable symptoms of COVID-19, providing health care workers with at least one stable marker to use when triaging patients—especially amid flu season. "There are altogether different things going on when it comes to smell and taste loss for COVID-19 patients, compared to those with a bad cold," Carl Philpott, PhD, of the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School, said in a statement on a related study. "It means that smell and taste tests could be used to discriminate between COVID-19 patients and people with a regular cold or flu."

Curious about more symptoms that could be clear warning signs that you have coronavirus? Read on for the 10 most common COVID symptoms, based on a survey of survivors from the Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group. And if you're curious if your nose is signaling a positive result, check out If You Can't Smell These 2 Things, You May Have COVID.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Sore throat

Man drinking water to cure dry throat

Patients who experienced the symptom: 69.6 percent

Elevated temperature (between 98.8 and 100 degrees)

A man with a fever grabs his head with his hand while reading a thermometer, doing a temperature check for coronavirus

Patients who experienced the symptom: 72.4 percent

Dry cough

Side view of woman wearing a face mask and coughing while standing at bus stop
ArtistGNDphotography / iStock

Patients who experienced the symptom: 72.7 percent

Gastrointestinal issues

Man with stomach ache

Patients who experienced the symptom: 74.6 percent

And for more on your digestive woes, here's How to Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is COVID, Doctors Say.

Chills or sweats

An older woman sits on the couch with symptoms of the common cold, holding a mug and tissue

Patients who experienced the symptom: 76.2 percent

Body aches

Man having muscle ache

Patients who experienced the symptom: 83.5 percent


Below view of woman with face mask having a headache at home.

Patients who experienced the symptom: 84.0 percent

Shortness of breath

Woman having trouble breathing

Patients who experienced the symptom: 85.3 percent

Tightness of chest

Male patient wearing face mask and feeling chest pain while being at the hospital during coronavirus epidemic. Healthcare worker is in the background.

Patients who experienced the symptom: 87.1 percent

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Lonely sad woman deep in thoughts sitting daydreaming or waiting for someone in the living room with a serious expression, she is pensive and suffering from insomnia sitting on couch

Patients who experienced the symptom: 98.4 percent

And for the full list of frequent signs of the virus, check out The Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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