Recently, health professionals in the United Kingdom have highlighted a new sign of coronavirus infection that appears in many cases but is neglected – mouth ulcers. Also known as COVID-19 tongue, the sign is not uncommon and was also seen in cases during the early days of the pandemic. However, the symptom is not listed in lists of signs by most health agencies.
According to experts in the UK, this keeps people from getting an official diagnosis as well as the cases from entering into coronavirus databases. For instance, the genetic epidemiologist at King’s College London, Professor Tim Spector tweeted about the issue last week.
In his tweet, he attached the photo of a coronavirus patient with mouth ulceration while emphasizing how the symptom is not a part of Public Health England’s official list of coronavirus signs.
Similarly, other major health organizations such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US and the World Health Organization also do not recognize the sign. Prof. Spector argues that identifying unusual symptoms can help in controlling the infection.
Currently, one in five people experiences uncommon symptoms of the coronavirus infection. Therefore, listing all such signs is also equally important in identifying the infection so that people can stay at home and self-isolate.
Doing so may significantly help in bringing down the transmission levels as many people are actually not aware of having the infection. This is why Prof. Spector suggests people stay at home even if they not have the known symptoms of coronavirus and are experiencing a continuous headache, coronavirus tongue, skin rashes, or fatigue.
Prior to health officials in the UK, there have already been reports on oral symptoms of SARS-CoV-2. For instance, research published in the journal Nature Evidence-Based Dentistry back in the summer of 2020 looked at three patients with coronavirus infection who had blisters and ulceration.
Similarly, another study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology looked at coronavirus cases in Spain. Each one of the patients had unusual symptoms such as skin rashes. Out of these, twenty-nine percent also had oral rashes in the form of tiny, red-colored blisters inside their mouth.
The investigation looked at all possible factors including the medicines the participants were taking and found that they were not associated with the symptoms. Hence, it was then concluded that the skin and oral rashes were indeed caused by the infection.
In addition to these studies, research has also suggested that SARS-CoV-2 can also directly affect the mucosa and salivary glands of infected people.
While the infection does not cause serious oral symptoms, their recognition primarily helps in better control strategies for the infection as it will help people know when they have the virus.
Therefore, people who are having unusual problems such as unexplained migraines, tiredness, skin problems, and blistering on their tongue and mouth should try to self-isolate for at least two weeks.
During the time, try to maintain a healthy diet and take rest. In case serious symptoms start to appear, visit a coronavirus facility of a hospital as soon as possible.