"COVID Tongue" Might Be a Sign You Have Coronavirus, Doctors Say—Here"s What It Looks Like
Facts about COVID Tongue: Peculiar virus Symptoms, Signs of Infection

What is COVID Tongue

Doctors have identified a symptom referred to as “COVID tongue” in some patients.

According to a research letter published in the British Journal of Dermatology, a significant number of COVID-19 patients are experiencing bumps on their tongue, along with inflammation and swelling. The letter analyzed data from 666 patients at a temporary field hospital in Spain and found that more than 45% had some form of mucocutaneous symptoms. (Mucocutaneous symptoms appear on areas where mucous membranes and skin meet, like your mouth, eyes, and parts of genitalia.)

Reports have trickled in about weird symptoms of COVID-19. There was COVID toes, unusual skin rashes, and loss of taste and smell, which later became an "official" symptom of the virus. Now there's a new one to keep on the back burner: COVID tongue.

Strange symptoms are nothing new to coronavirus. Since the pandemic shut down much of the world last March, uncommon symptoms associated with the unpredictable respiratory illness have cropped up, including foot sores, low oxygen levels and a tingly sensation throughout the body known as “fizzing.”

Now, doctors have identified a symptom referred to as “COVID tongue” in some patients.

Researchers found that one in four coronavirus patients noticed changes to their tongue, including swelling, sores, raised bumps on the surface of the tongue, indentations, and/or discolored patches. A small percentage of patients also reported a burning sensation in their mouth.

The new findings were presented in January 26, but first published in September in the British Journal of Dermatology.

This study also found that about 40 percent of patients experienced skin problems on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet. These included burning sensation, redness, peeling skin, and small bumps, Sciencealert report.

About one in ten patients also experienced a rash.

How does COVID tongue manifest?

Of the group with mucocutaneous symptoms, 25% exhibited symptoms in the mouth that included inflamed bumps as well as redness and swelling of the tongue.

Some of these patients experienced the symptoms alongside others like a burning sensation in the mouth, and the more commonly displayed loss of taste.

What causes of COVID tongue?

The cause of COVID tongue results from the way that the virus itself on your cells. The virus that causes coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — triggers a response on the ACE receptors, an enzyme that is prominent in the mouth.

“There are a lot of ACE receptors in the tongue, so the virus concentrates very heavily in this region,” said infectious disease field physician Rajeev Fernando, MD.

Scientists also don't fully understand when these types of symptoms tend to emerge, so at this point, so it's difficult to know if they might help predict more severe cases or long-term cases of COVID-19.

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