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Ask Dr. Nandi: More answers to your coronavirus questions

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 22:16:58-04

(WXYZ) — Questions continue to rise as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Our first question is from Renee Galante, she asks “If you lose your taste or sense of smell could you be a carrier?”

It is a possibility according to The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. They said that anecdotal evidence shows anosmia, the medical term for loss of smell, and dysgeusia, which is loss of taste, are symptoms associated with the coronavirus. And they recommended that these symptoms be considered when screening a person for the virus.

Now if this happens to you, please don’t panic. There could be other medical reasons why you might have these symptoms. So, I recommend that you speak with your family doctor first, before assuming you have the coronavirus.

Our next question is from Arielle Belcher. She asks, “How can you tell the difference in the symptoms of the Coronavirus vs allergies?”

Good question, especially since spring allergy season is ramping up with our warmer temperatures.

Now if you have allergies, you’ll likely experience symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes. And sometimes you can have shortness of breath. And that might scare you because it’s one of the key symptoms for the coronavirus.

So how can you tell what you have?

Well, rarely, is a runny nose linked with the coronavirus and sneezing is not a sign at all for it. The main symptom that separates these two is a fever. Having a fever is another key symptom of the coronavirus as well as a dry cough. But rarely are spring allergies linked to fever.

If you're not sure, again, please speak with your family doctor.

Last question comes from Felicia Jordan. She asks, “Is 6 feet really a safe distance or can you still catch the virus at that distance?”

The CDC says that the virus is thought to spread between people who are within about 6 feet. That number comes from studies of respiratory physiology.

It’s possible that when someone coughs or sneezes, the air that comes out can travel between 3 and 6 feet. So if you’re in that range, it’s possible to breathe in what someone else has exhaled out, including contaminated respiratory droplets.

But the good news is that droplets don’t usually travel more than 6 feet, and that's why 6 feet is the minimum distance you should keep between you and others.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.