COVID-19 Symptoms: How Is Loss Of Smell And Taste Different From Common Cold?

Do you know that consumption of tobacco can also significantly reduce your sense of smell and taste?

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Aug 20, 2020 17:54 IST
COVID-19 Symptoms: How Is Loss Of Smell And Taste Different From Common Cold?

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Coronavirus symptoms, loss of taste and smell: You must be aware of the coronavirus symptoms. Various studies have shown that loss of taste and aroma can be corona symptoms. However, there can indeed be many other reasons for this. So let's know about some such ideas. Many research has claimed that coronavirus damages sense of taste and smell. Although the coronavirus and flu symptoms look similar, they come from a family of two different viruses. COVID-19 or novel coronavirus was discovered in the year 2019, which had never been seen in humans before. At the same time, influenza virus, i.e. flu, was known many years ago.  

How is coronavirus loss of taste and smell different from a common cold?

A new first of its kind research published in the journal Rhinology is to demystify how people suffering from coronavirus have a different type of loss in taste and smell when compared to those with the cold or regular flu. The study was directed at the University of East Anglia, and the findings further highlighted that COVID-19 might have the potential to impact the central nervous system and brain of the patients. According to the research, some of the significant differences in smell and taste loss due to COVID-19 and regular cold include:

  • COVID-19 patients can breathe freely even with a loss of smell
  • They do not have a blocked nose or runny nose
  • They are not able to differentiate between sweet and bitter taste

What is the difference between COVID-19 and flu?


Experts believe that the coronavirus spreads much faster than influenza and other similar infections. High fever, severe tiredness, full-body pain and chills along with phlegm and cold, are symptoms of ordinary flu. This is the cause of why it is difficult to tell the difference between the early signs of coronavirus and influenza. Only with the help of a test can you find out whether the symptoms are of coronavirus or influenza. However, the difference depends on how long it takes for the symptoms to appear. When the flu virus hits you, symptoms start looking in 2 to 3 days, while coronavirus symptoms may take 2 to 14 days.

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Taste and smell related to other diseases


  • Ageusia: It is a type of disease in which the ability to detect any taste is gone. Primarily this damage occurs in the feeling of sweetness, sourness and bitterness. However, according to a study, only 3 per cent of people have this disease.
  • Dysgeusia or Parageusia: Dysgeusia, also known as parageusia, is an age-related disease. It also damages our senses of taste, because of which we get the same feeling of different meals.
  • Hypogeusia: This disease partially affects the taste senses of the patients, due to which the taste of any food is not readily known to us.

  • Anosmia: Anosmia wholly or partially damages our sense of smell. Usually, this disease also occurs in old age. However, such a disease also occurs in normal conditions. You must have noticed that due to allergies or colds, your ability to smell also decreases.
  • Age-factor: Usually in old age, the taste sense also becomes gradually weak, due to which we do not experience the salty and sweet taste in the beginning. Sometimes this disease can cause serious infections, which may affect the brain or nerves. This can cause brain tumour or head trauma, permanent loss of smell, etc.
  • These diseases can also reduce the sense of taste and smell: The problem may also appear in the early signs of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease in old age. Diseases like sinus, cold and fever can also cause the loss of taste and smell. Even during the treatment of some severe diseases like cancer, the senses of taste and smell are damaged.

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