Does loss of smell, taste indicate coronavirus infection? Here are the facts

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Monday, March 23, 2020
Coronavirus symptoms, tips amid COVID-19 outbreak
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Patients with COVID-19 experience mild to severe respiratory illnesses.

Several articles circulating on social media claim that losing the senses of smell and taste is the first indicator of a COVID-19 infection. Is this true?

At the moment, no peer-reviewed study or clinical statistics show that the new coronavirus has an effect on a person's senses.

Health experts don't even know the exact symptoms experienced by everyone, though fever, dry cough, tiredness and difficulty breathing appear to be the most common so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.

Moreover, loss of taste and smell is associated with allergies, which is common this time of year. It is also triggered by other factors, like cigarette smoking.

RELATED: What the CDC says you should know if you have asthma during COVID-19 pandemic

Articles making these claims are citing a recommendation from the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), which says anecdotal evidence shows that anosmia (smell blindness), hyposmia (a reduced ability to smell) and dysgeusia (a distorted sense of taste) seem to be associated with

"Anosmia, hyposmia, and dysgeusia in the absence of other respiratory disease such as allergic rhinitis, acute rhinosinusitis, or chronic rhinosinusitis should alert physicians to the possibility of COVID-19 infection and warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing of these individuals," the recommendation read.

It is impossible to self-diagnose COVID-19, and the best resource for information on symptoms will come from government agencies, like the CDC and WHO.

Yet those who live in communities where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed should practice social distancing regardless of any symptoms. Anyone who experiences emergency symptoms, like trouble breathing and persistent chest pain, should seek medical attention immediately.

ABC News contributed to this report.