​Warning sign of HV.1 and JN.1 variants​

A fever and persistent cough are well recognised signs of COVID. However, there is one sign that can appear in an infected person’s mouth. This symptom could be caused by new COVID variants, including HV.1 and JN.1, according to health experts.

Omicron variant HV.1 has become the dominant strain in the US, while JN.1, the descendant of Pirola, has recently been found in 12 countries including the UK, US, Iceland, Portugal and Spain. Here is how these new COVID variants can cause symptoms in your mouth.

​What is COVID tongue?​

COVID tongue refers to swelling or inflammation of the tongue after getting infected with COVID-19. Some patients may also notice that their tongue appears whiter and patchier than normal. Other symptoms include excessive redness, burning sensation, loss of taste, and some degree of numbness. This can sometimes also lead to the formation of bumps and ulcers on the tongue.


​How does COVID tongue happen?​

There are many reasons why COVID tongue may occur. One cause can be an immune response to the virus. When your immune system is fighting an infection, it can cause swelling throughout your body. This could include swelling of the tongue, associated with COVID tongue.

It can also develop due to a large amount of ACE receptors (the protein that provides the entry point for the Coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells) in the mouth. COVID tongue could be caused by the virus attaching itself to the receptors and seeping into the cells, according to health experts.

​COVID tongue and Pirola​

According to health experts, COVID tongue symptom could be more prominent with the Pirola variant. Pirola is slightly more likely to cause inflammation in the mouth and skin. Other signs of Pirola include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

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​When to see a doctor?​

It is important to consult your doctor if you experience COVID tongue. While for some people, the inflammation goes away on its own after a few days, some people may need prescription medication to reduce the swelling. According to health experts, you can take over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen, notes Express UK.

​How to protect yourself from COVID​

Here are some tips to protect yourselves from COVID infection. Get vaccinated and stay up-to-date with booster shots. Wear masks, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces, and follow proper respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, particularly after touching surfaces or being in public areas. Take care of your overall health by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.