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Strange COVID-19 Symptoms Affecting People's Fingers, Toes, And Even Tongues

"COVID toes" is the latest strange symptom coming from the coronavirus.

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Jack Dunhill

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Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

Jack is a Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer for IFLScience, with a degree in Medical Genetics specializing in Immunology.

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

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covid toes

Ouch. Image Credit: Chris Curry/Shutterstock.com

A rare symptom has surfaced for people with COVID-19, and it isn’t pleasant. The virus appears to be reaching areas of the body it doesn’t usually touch, including fingers, toes, and tongues, and causing them to swell. Dubbed “COVID toes”, the strange symptom is giving some people puffed up, painful digits, and scientists aren’t exactly sure why. 

However, doctors want you to know that if you do get these symptoms, you aren’t alone and they generally go away by themselves. 

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In a symptom progression that looks extremely similar to chilblains, the virus appears to be collecting in tissue away from the typical lungs and respiratory tract, causing an aggressive immune response. 

While the condition can affect all digits, it seems to primarily rear its head in the toes, hence the nickname. It can happen at any age, but young people appear to be more likely to develop it.  

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the swelling will typically begin with red discoloration on one or several fingers or toes, but will soon fade to a darkish purple; it can, however, start purple.   

Most commonly, the discoloration and swelling are all that will happen, but some have reported blisters, pain, pus under the skin, and itching in the affected digits. 

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If you get these symptoms and are in significant pain, consult a doctor who may prescribe topical steroids to keep the inflammation down. Most of the time, COVID toes go away on their own and last up to two weeks, but some cases can last months, which is consistent with some other COVID-19 symptoms. 


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  • viruses,

  • health,

  • covid-19,

  • covid-19 symptoms

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