For Taylor Corporation and thousands of other companies across North America, the definition of “workplace safety” forever changed in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality. The standard workplace policies regarding employee safety were suddenly rendered obsolete by a mysterious, microscopic particle that could potentially threaten the health of any employee in any company.
In addition to now-familiar measures like social distancing and heightened sanitation procedures, Taylor began to monitor the health of its employees as another way of arresting the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. However, the daily symptom surveys and temperature checks were known to be imperfect. Since many individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus do not exhibit a fever and may not be self-aware of other symptoms, how could Taylor more effectively screen its workforce and provide a safe work environment?
Having heard that a change in the sense of smell was a potential symptom of a COVID-19 infection, a Taylor production facility in Mexico began to conduct scent checks with employees using jars of easily recognized substances like vanilla and cinnamon. Not long after, a Mayo Clinic study found that 95% of patients tested for a sudden loss of smell had the COVID-19 virus. The idea of using this peculiar characteristic of the COVID-19 virus as a new type of screening tool was born. While other symptom checks may be hit or miss, the nose knows.
As one of the largest and most technologically advanced printing companies in the world, Taylor applies scented ink to paper to create its patent-pending scentcard™ and scentcard PRO olfactory tests. We use these olfactory tests with our own employees ― in addition to the daily symptom surveys and temperature checks ― as yet another tool in the fight against COVID-19. And now, this same technology is available to you.
Remember, a sudden loss or change in the ability to smell may be the result of any number of issues including environment, age, injuries, infections, viruses or blockages of the nose. For this reason, scentcard and scentcard PRO are not COVID-19 tests and do not take the place of any other screening tool or preventative measure now being used to combat COVID-19. However, when used in harmony with these other measures, scentcard and scentcard PRO may provide a higher level of confidence that you are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of your employees, your customers, and their respective families.
Loss of smell is a primary marker for many conditions, including the virus that causes COVID-19. People who contract certain viruses are often asymptomatic in the first several days, which is when they are likely to be the most contagious.
It is in these early days when most people experience a loss of smell as their very first symptom, well before other virus symptoms manifest such as fevers, high body temperatures, chills, cough, or headaches. Most who lose their sense of smell don’t know they’ve lost it until they are tested.
Taking the body temperatures of employees before they come to work, customers before they enter a retail store, or teachers and students before they come to school is helpful, but a fever often comes well after the time the person is the most contagious and has unknowingly infected people around them. Testing for and detecting the loss of smell is one of the best ways to check for one of the earliest symptoms of certain viruses.