What is COVID Tongue and What Does It Mean?

first sign of coronovirus, protruding white plaque on tongue, closeup

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals have been confronted with a myriad of symptoms associated with the virus.

One such symptom, although less frequently reported, is COVID tongue.

In this article, we will look into COVID tongue and explore its symptoms, causes and implications.

What is COVID tongue?

COVID tongue is a distinct yet uncommon COVID-19 symptom that manifests as various tongue and mouth abnormalities, which appear alongside other COVID symptoms.

The exact causes of COVID tongue are still unclear, but there are a few theories.

What causes COVID tongue?‍

The exact underlying mechanisms that cause COVID tongue are still unclear, and medical researchers are actively investigating the causes of this unusual symptom.

One theory suggests that the tongue and mouth cells contain a high number of ACE2 receptors, which the coronavirus can bind to and invade.

Another possible explanation is that the weakened immune response to COVID-19 allows other viruses, bacteria or fungi to infect the tongue. However, further research is needed to fully understand the underlying causes of COVID tongue.

Since COVID tongue is a relatively new and uncommon symptom of COVID-19, its appearance can vary from person to person and may resemble other tongue and mouth conditions. Several viruses can affect the tongue and cause blisters and ulcers, which can be mistaken for COVID tongue.

Other factors that can make you more susceptible to it include:

  • General illness
  • Impaired immune system
  • Certain medications
  • Chemotherapy

What are COVID tongue symptoms?

Although COVID tongue symptoms can vary from person to person, here are some common signs that you need to look out for:

  • Swollen or sore tongue
  • Difficulty in eating or speaking comfortably
  • Ulcers or white patches on the tongue
  • Loss of taste
  • Changes in your ability to taste certain flavors

COVID tongue usually occurs alongside other symptoms of the coronavirus, such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

If you’re experiencing these tongue symptoms along with other COVID-19 symptoms, it’s recommended to seek medical attention and get tested for the virus.

How many people get COVID tongue?

COVID tongue is a relatively new and unusual symptom that has only recently been identified in connection with the coronavirus, so there’s limited data on its prevalence.

While COVID tongue has been reported by some people, it’s not considered to be a common symptom compared to other well-known symptoms. The exact percentage of people who experience COVID tongue is still unknown and further research is needed to determine its prevalence within the population.

The presence or absence of COVID tongue doesn’t necessarily indicate the severity of the infection or the course of the disease. COVID tongue should be considered alongside other symptoms and evaluated by a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

What is the treatment for COVID tongue?

Treatment options for COVID tongue vary depending on the severity of symptoms and individual patient needs. Since COVID tongue is a relatively new and unusual symptom of COVID-19, there’s limited research on specific treatments.

However, healthcare professionals typically focus on managing the symptoms and promoting overall recovery.

If you have a mild case of COVID tongue, self-care measures can be effective. These may include:

  • Regularly brushing the tongue
  • Using mouth rinse to reduce inflammation and discomfort
  • Using over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen

Close-up Of Young Woman Cleaning Tongue With Cleaner

In more severe cases or when symptoms persist, medical intervention may be necessary. To reduce inflammation and promote healing, your healthcare provider may prescribe topical treatments, such as:

  • Mouthwashes or gels containing corticosteroids
  • Antifungal medication

What’s the outlook for people with COVID tongue?

For most people, COVID tongue symptoms usually go away once the infection has cleared.

However, in some cases, COVID tongue can persist and require treatment.

In rare cases, COVID tongue symptoms can resolve and then flare up again over several months, which can be frustrating and challenging.

If you experience persistent or recurrent symptoms, we recommend that you seek medical attention and guidance from healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.

As with any medical condition, the outlook for people with COVID tongue can also be influenced by individual factors, such as:

  • Overall health
  • Immune response
  • Adherence to treatment

Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider, follow their advice and take necessary precautions to support your recovery.

Key takeaway

COVID tongue is an uncommon COVID-19 symptom that can last from a few days to several months. It can present with symptoms such as a swollen or sore tongue, ulcers, white patches, and taste disturbances.

While the exact causes are unclear, current research shows that it may be related to the high number of ACE2 receptors in the tongue and mouth cells or a weakened immune response.

If you suspect that you’re experiencing COVID tongue, seek proper diagnosis and evaluation from a healthcare professional for accurate treatment.

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