'COVID tongue' becoming more common coronavirus symptom

Emily Cleary
·3 min read
The head of one of the UK's leading coronavirus surveys has said that more symptoms should be added to the official list of COVID symptoms published by the government
The head of one of the UK's leading coronavirus surveys has said that more symptoms should be added to the official list of COVID symptoms published by the government (PA / Twitter)

An increase in coronavirus sufferers displaying ‘COVID tongue’ has prompted pleas for people to stay at home if they develop a skin rash, fatigue or headaches.

The official symptoms, according to Public Health England (PHE), are a continuous cough, a fever, and a loss or change in sense of taste and smell.

However, other symptoms have been flagged by the medical profession, including headaches, fatigue and a sore throat, and a leading coronavirus survey revealed that COVID tongue is becoming increasingly common.

Professor Tim Spector, head of the department of genetic epidemiology and leader of the COVID-19 symptom study app at King’s College, has said that a fifth of sufferers display symptoms that vary from those on the official government list.

An example of 'COVID tongue' - an increasingly common symptom of coronavirus sufferers (Twitter/Tim Spector)
An example of 'COVID tongue' - an increasingly common symptom of coronavirus sufferers (Twitter/Tim Spector)

Writing on Twitter, he said: “One in five people with COVID still present with less common symptoms that don’t get on the official PHE list - such as skin rashes.

“Seeing increasing numbers of COVID tongues and strange mouth ulcers.”

Prof Spector used the news to urge people to stay at home even if they do not have a cough, fever, or change in sense of taste or smell.

He said: “If you have a strange symptom or even just headache and fatigue stay at home!”

Prof Spector has previously criticised PHE for not updating the list of symptoms, as so many other countries have.

Tom O'Neill, a 23 year old computer science student at Hull University, takes a swab for a lateral flow Covid-19 test at the campus sports facilities on January 4, 2021, as students return to the university. - Britain -- one of the worst-affected countries by the global health crisis, with more than 75,000 deaths -- is pinning its hopes on the jab as the mainstay of its mass vaccination drive. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Lateral flow testing centres have been set up across the UK which can give results withn 30 minutes in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus in people not showing any symptoms (Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

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He said: “We list about 14 symptoms which we know are related to having a positive swab test, and these are not being picked up by the NHS.”

Aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin and discolouration of fingers or toes are all listed as less common symptoms of coronavirus by the World Health Organisation.

While warnings of these symptoms have been issued to encourage people to stay at home, the government is keen to remind the public that many people with coronavirus are asymptomatic and people without symptoms are being targeted for coronavirus testing across England.

Watch: What is long COVID?

Quick turnaround tests will be given to every local authority in England with the aim of prioritising key workers unable to work from home during the lockdown.

Lateral flow tests, which can return results in as little as 30 minutes, are at the centre of the community testing programme.

Prof Spector’s COVID Symptom Study app, developed by ZOE and used by Kings College London for research, is being used by millions of people across Britain to report if they have COVID symptoms and if they have been tested for the disease.

It helps the experts identify symptoms that are common in people who have a positive COVID test result, as well as track the size of the outbreak.

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