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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – One tell-tale sign of COVID-19 is the loss of taste and smell. It’s an easy way to quickly identify if you’ve been infected with the virus.

Dr. Karen Landers from the Alabama Department of Public Health said she’s seeing 10 to 15 percent of people who are experiencing new loss of taste or smell after contracting COVID-19.

“The new loss of taste or smell is really one of the symptoms of COVID-19 that we can consider is something that is very likely to indicate COVID-19 and certainly in younger persons,” said Landers.

Nicole Mitchell has had her own experience. In the past month, she tested positive for COVID-19. Mitchell said a few days into her diagnosis she completely lost her taste and smell. She said she noticed those senses were gone when she woke up one morning and couldn’t taste a banana.

“It was kind of a gradual thing over two or three days it just got less and less, my taste went away before my smell did, and then it was like nothing after like three days absolutely nothing,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said it’s now been over two weeks since she’s had COVID-19 and her senses are gradually coming back.

“I can taste strong garlic or strong spices of any kind, but really that’s about it right now,” said Mitchell.

Dr. Landers is encouraging people to see a doctor if their sense of taste and smell doesn’t return within a reasonable time.

“Early on most persons were regaining their loss of taste or smell within about 2 weeks of having had COVID disease but there certainly is a percentage that after three months or so have still not regained their taste or smell and those persons should be evaluated by their physician,” Landers said.