Olfactory Dysfunction Amongst Covid-19 Positive Patients
Background: Rapid spread of COVID-19 has overburdened the health systems globally forcing the triage of limited health facilities. Early identification of disease can help to allocate the health facilities in an efficient way. Olfactory dysfunction among COVID positive cases can serve as an important predictor of the disease. Objective: Recent surge of olfactory impairment has been observed among patients with COVID-19 in Pakistan. The objective of the study was an assessment of the frequency of olfactory disorder in COVID-19 patients. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Settings: Participants were from different cities of province of Punjab, Pakistan. Duration: From 1st May to 1st June 2020 (1 month). Methodology: A questionnaire was created on google forms and circulated through WhatsApp and email to the voluntary COVID-19 positive cases. Results: Out of 200 COVID confirmed participants, 70% were females who suffered olfactory dysfunction. 55% of the respondents reported anosmia while 45% experienced hyposmia. 70% participants reported sudden anosmia, while 30% reported that loss of smell was gradual. 42% also reported decrease in their sense of taste along with loss of smell. 45% reported that loss of olfaction had a negative effect on their quality of life. The mean duration of hyposmia/anosmia was 7±5.3 days. Conclusion: Olfactory dysfunction has been reported by a number of COVID positive patients in Pakistan. The scientific basis of loss of smell amongst COVID positive patients must be further investigated.