Got a weird COVID-19 symptom? You’re not alone

As we head into our 3rd pandemic wintertime, most individuals are all also common with the indications of COVID-19. The sickness wears numerous distinctive faces and can clearly show up as chills, cough, difficulty respiration or other troublesome jumbles of signs or symptoms. But occasionally, this ailment can appear positively peculiar. 

On rare events, SARS-CoV-2 rears its head in entire body components not normally touched by respiratory viruses. From head to COVID toe, doctors have seen a bevy of strange instances. Patchy tongues, puffy digits, hair loss — such issues can be worrisome for individuals, suggests Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious diseases medical professional at the College of California, San Francisco.

But the outlook doesn’t have to be. That’s simply because these types of signs or symptoms can stop up going absent on their own, claims Chin-Hong, who has handled hundreds of people with COVID-19.

No one is familiar with accurately how generally COVID tongue, COVID toe, COVID eye or other exceptional disorders take place — and it’s not always very clear that COVID-19 is the actual perpetrator. Nonetheless, the sheer scale of coronavirus infections signifies that SARS-CoV-2 has experienced several likelihood to display its stuff (SN: 9/8/22). The United States is now closing in on 98 million confirmed situations. Such a staggering circumstance count indicates that “statistically speaking, you are going to find people today with far more and more unusual matters,” Chin-Hong states.

A person sticking out their tongue, revealing many white lesions and swollen patches
For clients with COVID tongue, inflammation, lesions and sensitivity can come about.S. Chaughtai, Z. Chaughtai and A. Asif/Journal of Health-related Situation Studies 2022 (CC BY 4.)

Health professionals count on health-related circumstance experiences for prospects on potential remedies and hints about how very long indications may last. Even just recognizing that an individual else has had splotchy mouth sores or tender toes can be practical, Chin-Hong claims. That lets him notify his patients, “You’re not the only one,” he claims. “That implies a great deal to a large amount of individuals.” 

Inside medication health practitioner Saira Chaughtai revealed a person this sort of research in October in the Journal of Health care Circumstance Experiences just after one particular of her principal treatment sufferers came in with a symptom Chaughtai had never witnessed. 10 times following testing positive for COVID-19, the patient’s tongue began to swell, at some point erupting in white-ringed lesions.

Particular spots appeared “denuded,” states Chaughtai, of Hackensack Meridian Health in Neptune, N.J. It was as if some of the tongue’s floor bumps experienced been sandpapered away. The individual was not someone health professionals would ordinarily consider susceptible, either. She was 30 years previous, in shape and balanced.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, COVID can do anything at all,’” Chaughtai remembers considering. 

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Oral sores can glimpse unique among the clients. Chin-Hong has viewed men and women with tongues coated white, as if they’d chewed a mouthful of tortilla chips. For Chaughtai’s affected person, COVID tongue felt delicate and irritated, with flare-ups that burned. Chaughtai wasn’t positive how to deal with it. 

She searched the scientific literature and prescribed an assortment of mouthwashes, which aided. But six months in, the patient’s tongue hadn’t entirely healed. So Chaughtai obtained inventive. She teamed up with a sports activities drugs health care provider, who beamed very low-degree laser light at the patient’s tongue. He experienced previously made use of this photobiomodulation therapy to handle muscle accidents.

Laser light-weight remedy would make blood vessels dilate, maximizing blood flow to addressed spots, which could encourage healing, Chaughtai states. It appeared to do the job for her patient. The tongue lesions started to heal and flare-ups subsided. The lady nevertheless often feels some tongue sensitivity when stressed, but hardly ever as poor as her original outbreak.

The results of COVID toe

About 1,300 kilometers west, a podiatrist in Crown Place, Ind., also dilated a patient’s blood vessels to deal with a curious coronavirus situation: COVID toe. Soon after infection with SARS-CoV-2, patients’ fingers and toes can plump up, often painfully, and turn pink or reddish purple.

“We ended up looking at instances of these lesions that glance like chilblains, which is some thing you get when you are exposed to cold climate,” suggests Michael Nirenberg of Pleasant Foot Care. But his individuals hadn’t been in the chilly — they’d been exposed to the coronavirus. 

Nirenberg has seen as lots of as 40 people today with the symptom, which he’s discovered tends to crystal clear up in a month or two. But a person of his individuals, a 59-calendar year-outdated person, just couldn’t kick COVID toe. It in the long run lingered for virtually 670 times — the longest documented circumstance Nirenberg has found. “The expression we utilised was very long COVID toe,” he says. Nirenberg and colleagues reported the circumstance this spring in the Journal of Cutaneous Pathology

Nirenberg approved day by day software of a nitroglycerin ointment to improve blood stream to the toes. That could have helped, Nirenberg states, “but I don’t know if time also did the trick.” Soon after 22 months, the issue might have finally solved on its individual. 

The amount of COVID toes Nirenberg encounters these days has long gone down, but he’s even now viewing folks come in with the problem. And while Chaughtai has not handled a different case of COVID tongue, a person a short while ago e-mailed her expressing that he experienced experienced from a comparable affliction for two a long time. 

UCSF’s Chin-Hong says he thinks it’s critical for people to know that COVID-19 can cause these a wide range of indicators (SN: 11/11/22). “We just cannot truly predict who’s likely to get what,” he says. But in his practical experience, unusual signs have tended to crop up a lot more generally in men and women who haven’t been vaccinated. 

This sort of indicators may perhaps not be as significant as COVID-affected hearts or lungs, but they can surely glimpse scary, Chin-Hong claims. “If this is a motive why some persons could get vaccinated,” he states, “I consider that would be great.”