‘Changes to the tongue, hands or soles of the feet may indicate corona infection’

Changes to the tongue, hands or soles of the feet may provide a first indication of Covid-19 infection, Spanish researchers found in a recently published study.

Health professionals at the University of La Paz Hospital came to this conclusion after a study involving 666 patients infected with Covid-19 at the IFEMA field hospital set up in Madrid during the first wave of the pandemic.

One in four patients said they had noticed changes to the tongue, while four in ten noticed unusual signs on the palms or soles of the feet. The researchers write that in it British Journal of Dermatology.

‘Covid tongue’

Some patients reported swelling of the tongue and saw spots appearing on it, in what is now called ‘Covid tongue’. As previously known, this is in many cases accompanied by loss of taste.

Another symptom the researchers found in the patients was a burning sensation and redness on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet. In some cases there were also small spots on the skin.

“Nearly half of the patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 admitted to a field hospital for a period of two weeks showed mucocutaneous findings (with regard to skin, ed.) ”, Said the researchers.

“The oral cavity was often involved and deserves specific research under the right conditions to avoid the risk of contamination.”

Early detection

The sooner a Covid-19 infection can be diagnosed in a patient, the sooner action can be taken to prevent further spread of the virus to other contacts. Early detection is therefore crucial.

In addition to these researchers, smartwatch watcher Fitbit is also working on a study to determine whether its products can detect a contamination with Covid-19 – even before the patient shows symptoms.

For example, respiratory rate, heart rate variability and resting heart rate would be useful in detecting an infection at an early stage. A reduced heart rate variability in combination with a higher heart rate and respiratory rate often indicates contamination.


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