Strange coronavirus symptoms like ‘Covid tongues’ on the rise

Fever, dry cough, and tiredness are the most common symptoms of Covid-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Other less common coronavirus symptoms include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhoea, or a skin rash. However, an increasing number of patients are also suffering from strange symptoms like Covid tongues and mouth ulcers, which are not yet listed by the WHO as Covid-19 symptoms, said an epidemiologist. Also Read – Gut microbiome imbalances influence the likelihood of ‘long Covid’

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said in a tweet that he is seeing more and more patients with such odd symptoms. Also Read – Holding breath to avoid Covid-19 infection? It may actually increase the risk, say Indian researchers

“One in five people with Covid still present with less common symptoms that don’t get on the official PHE (Public Health England) list – such as skin rashes. Seeing increasing numbers of Covid tongues and strange mouth ulcers. If you have a strange symptom or even just headache and fatigue stay at home!” Spector tweeted. Also Read – 76% of COVID patients have at least one symptoms 6 months after the infection: Study

Such oral symptoms are also not included among the covid-19 symptoms listed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Covid tongue could be mistaken as geographic tongue

Commenting on the Spector’s post, a Twitter user revealed that she also has a strange set of tongue markings that are almost identical to the image shared by the epidemiologist, but her GP diagnosed it as geographic tongue.

Geographic tongue is a benign oral inflammatory condition that causes a map-like pattern to appear on the tongue. It results from the loss of tiny hairlike projections (papillae) on your tongue’s surface. Those with this condition have smooth, red patches of varying shapes and sizes on their tongues.

“I have a strange set of tongue markings that are almost identical to this image. They came on around two months ago and have been diagnosed as geographic tongue by my GP. This is the first I’ve seen of this being a possible COVID symptom,” one Rebecca Warbis replied.

She asked Spector if she should get tested for COVID. To which, Spector said that there’s a possibility that it could be due to the viral disease. “Could be covid- but probably too late for PCR test now- antibodies could be helpful,” he responded to her query.

Spector is the principal investigator of the ‘ZOE COVID Symptom Study’ app which allows people to sign up and self-report any of their Covid-19 symptoms.

Why makes your mouth vulnerable to coronavirus?

Researchers hypothesized that the abundance of the ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme) receptor in oral tissue might make the mouth a vulnerable area to coronavirus. The ACE2 receptor is a key component in COVID-19 infection as it facilitates viral entry into target host cells.

There are also studies supporting Professor Spector’s claim of Covid-19 associated mouth and tongue symptoms.

For example, a research published in the Nature journal Evidence-Based Dentistry last year reported three Covid-19 patients who experienced oral ulceration or blistering of the mouth.

JAMA Dermatology also carried a study that described 21 coronavirus patients in Spain who had skin rashes. Of these patients, six individuals (29 per cent) also developed oral rash.

An article in New York Times also discussed about oral problems such as teeth falling out, sensitive gums, teeth turning grey, and teeth cracking among Covid survivors.

According to experts, COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. While most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness, some may develop severe symptoms like shortness of breath, loss of appetite, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and may need hospitalization.

If you experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement, WHO advises to seek medical care immediately.

With inputs from IANS

Published : January 17, 2021 5:12 pm | Updated:January 17, 2021 5:27 pm

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