Elaborating clinical characteristics of COVID-19 by focusing on the symptoms concerning otolaryngologistsErol Bozbora, Kağan Avcı, Murat Ulusan
Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread rapidly worldwide and penetrated most of the countries in a short time period, affecting millions of individuals. Otolaryngologists are on the frontlines of this pandemic. In this review, we discuss clinical symptoms concerning the ear, nose and throat (ENT) field. There are various clinical presentations of COVID-19 ranging from asymptomatic or mild disease to severe disease, causing pneumonia, multi-organ dysfunction, and death. Fever, cough, and fatigue are the most common symptoms of the disease. Dysfunctions in smell and taste have been also frequently reported. Questioning individuals for these dysfunctions may be a part of routine examination procedures of COVID-19 in the imminent future. In addition, unusual presentations have been reported from many countries. What is crucial about these rare presentations is that otolaryngologists must always be vigilant for a possible COVID-19 diagnosis in patients admitted even with classical ENT complaints to prevent exposure of the unprotected healthcare providers and delay in diagnosis. The role of otolaryngologists in diagnosing and managing COVID-19 patients is of utmost importance, considering the clinical scene built by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Most of the symptoms observed in COVID-19 are frequent reasons for applying to ENT clinics during daily routine, putting them under risk of catching the virus. Therefore, otolaryngologists must be fully equipped with protection and be alert for suspecting the novel disease during the pandemic era.