Everything you need to know about Covid tongue

The three main symptoms of Covid-19 are a high temperature, persistent cough, and breathlessness.

However, the reports from people who have contracted the virus have been wide-ranging, so it seems different bodies could react to it in different ways.

With the loss of taste or smell being a symptom, one theory that has popped up is that having a sore or discoloured tongue could be a symptom of coronavirus.

What is the so-called ‘Covid tongue’, is it a symptom of the virus, and what should you do if you think you have it?

What is Covid tongue?

Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, has reported seeing increasing cases of people with coronavirus suffering with uncomfortable symptoms in their mouth – such as a coated tongue.

According to Spector, one in five infected with the virus will show less common symptoms – like this coated tongue, or ‘Covid tongue’.

Covid tongue may look patchy or discoloured, and can feel sore.

Writing on Twitter, Spector, who is the lead scientist on the Zoe Covid Symptom Study UK Infection Survey, said: ‘One in five people with Covid still present with less common symptoms that dont get on the official PHE list – such as skin rashes [sic].

‘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!’

Is a sore tongue a coronavirus symptom?

Professor Spector is urging anyone who experiences lesser known symptoms, like Covid tongue, to isolate, acting as if it is indeed a symptom of the virus.

The NHS still states that the main symptoms of coronavirus are as follows:

  • A high temperature – you feel hot to the touch on your back or chest
  • A new and continuous cough – coughing a lot for over an hour, or three or more coughing fits in 24 hours. If you often have a cough, then this cough could be worse than normal.
  • A loss of taste or sense of smell – you either can’t taste or smell anything, or things taste or smell different than usual

However, having different symptoms to these is not unusual.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that there are less common symptoms too, such as:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Skin rash or discolouration of fingers or toes

More serious symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement.

What else could a sore or coated tongue mean?

Issues with your tongue could have different causes. Some of them, the NHS advises, are harmless enough.

This could include Geographical tongue, where the tongue will become patchy as the surface of the tongue naturally replaces itself.

Tongue patches and coating could also be caused by thrush, which can be common in the mouth.

If you have a sore or white tongue, the NHS advise you can try some simple tips that could help. These include:

If you’re concerned about your symptoms, you should call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.

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