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Dr. Sanjay Gupta Answers Loss of Smell, Advil and More COVID-19 Questions

Do you really lose taste and smell? Can you take Advil or Ibuprofen? Dr. Sanjay Gupta answered all of our Coronavirus questions on-air on Tuesday, March 24, shedding light on the latest finds, medications and what’s to come.

The deadly, ever-spreading virus has taken more than 17,000 lives as of Tuesday as the nation attempts to flatten the curve by staying home and practicing social distancing. 

“One of the biggest things that we’re thinking about is what is likely to happen this next week because that’s going to be the end of this 15 days,” Gupta shared with Ryan Seacrest on On Air With Ryan Seacrest, adding that public health officials are signaling that this "needs to go on longer, but not forever."

Gupta continued that with numerous medication trials underway, “there may be some hopefulness” and while COVID-19 is a new virus and we can’t look throughout history to solve, there is a flip side emerging as other countries including China and South Korea appear to be coming “out the other side” with “the curve over there ... around 8 weeks.”

So are reports of loss of taste and smell accurate as a Coronavirus symptom?

“It is true that sometimes people can have loss of smell as a symptom of this and even a first symptom of this and even sometimes the only symptom,” Gupta shared. “… If you’re hearing this and you think ‘That’s me’ it doesn’t mean you need to rush out and get a test either,” he added. "Likely this, what they call anosmia, the medical term for loss of smell, will be short-lived and it should return at some point … [but] all of these are clues.”

Another important clue Gupta added are digestive symptoms.

“Originally this was thought to be entirely a respiratory syndrome, the predominate symptoms being fever — 104 degrees — dry cough, and shortness of breath, but there are also digestive symptoms here,” he added. “… Just pay attention to it. … One rule of thumb: Just rewind a year,” he stressed. “Go back to last year if you’re having symptoms and if it was a year ago would you have called the doctor? Would you have gone to the hospital? If the answer was no then it should be no now. It’ll be safer for you to be home, less likely for you to get infected if you’re not and less likely to spread it.”

Listen back to the full interview in the audio above to find out more, including the rules on Advil and Ibuprofen.

Listen to Gupta’s podcast Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction here.