At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, authorities repeatedly warned the public that anyone who had a cough, shortness of breath, and/or a fever could have the disease. However, as scientists continued to study the virus, they discovered that the initial list of potential symptoms were far too short. Sore throat, headaches, loss of taste and smell were also recognized as COVID-19 indicators. Now, yet another item may soon make its way onto the official list of symptoms: a mouth rash.
Rashes can be divided into two broad categories. Exanthems and enanthems.
- Exanthems occur on exterior skin and include things like hives and chickenpox-like bumps.
- Enanthems are rashes that affect tissues inside the body, usually the mucous membranes.
Researchers in Spain found enanthems in the mouths of 29 percent of the subjects in their small study group (6 out of 21 people). All of the patients with enanthems also had exanthems. They were all adults between the ages of 40 and 69, and four of them were female.
What It Means
Given the very small size of the study, the researchers could not draw any definitive conclusions about whether enanthems are a common symptom of COVID-19. They could not pull data from other studies on the disease because it is not common practice for doctors to check for enanthems in coronavirus patients.
The researchers were also unable to conclude whether the enanthems were a result of the disease itself or the drugs used to treat the disease. However, they did note that since other viruses have been known to cause rashes, COVID-19, rather than medications, is probably responsible for the enanthems.
Is a Mouth Rash Something to Worry About?
If you discover a sore or rash in your mouth, you should not jump to the conclusion that you have COVID-19. In the above-mentioned study, all of the patients experienced other, more well-researched symptoms before the enanthems appeared. Therefore, if you have not had a fever, cough, or shortness of breath in the past two weeks, your oral symptoms are probably due to something other than the virus.
If you are reasonably sure that you can rule out COVID-19 or another virus as the cause of your mouth sore or rash, it may be wise to visit your dentist in Creve Coeur. They’ll examine your mouth and let you know what may be causing your problem and how you can deal with it. On the other hand, if you are worried that COVID-19 might be the cause, you should head to a local testing facility or get in touch with your primary care physician.
Scientists still have much to learn about COVID-19. Recent research reveals that it can affect much more than just the respiratory system!
About Our Dentists
Drs. James Feigenbaum and Jenna Feigenbaum are a father-daughter dental team who serve the greater St. Louis area. They are committed to maintaining a healthful dental office environment and have strict anti-COVID-19 safety precautions in place. To learn more about them or how they are helping to protect the community from the spread of illness, contact our team at 314-567-1777.