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Tingling in Hands and Feet: A COVID Unusual Symptom


Multiple symptoms can be associated with COVID-19, including fatigue, muscle aches, a dry cough, etc. However, some COVID symptoms are more frequent than others and they can even last long after the initial infection has passed. In this post, we’ll explore why some people experience numbness and tingling hands due to COVID.

We’ll discuss:

  • What causes numbness and tingling in hands and feet?
  • How can you treat it?
  • How common are numbness and tingling in hands and feet after COVID?

Without further ado, let’s get started

What Causes Numbness and Tingling in Hands and Feet?

Numbness and tingling are also referred to as paresthesia. It’s a prickling or burning, painless sensation that can occur in multiple body parts. Patients describe it as a feeling of “pins and needles” on the skin. Paresthesia is more commonly experienced in:

  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Legs
  • Feet

Almost everyone has experienced temporary paresthesia during their lifetime. It occurs when there’s sustained pressure on a nerve, such as when falling asleep with an arm crooked under the head or spending too much time sitting with legs crossed. As a result, the numbness and tingling fade after the pressure is released.

However, chronic paresthesia can signal various disorders, such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tumor
  • Stroke
  • COVID-19
  • Long-COVID
  • Nerve entrapment disorders

When it comes to COVID, specialists believe that it may be because immune cells inflame their nerves as they fight off infection.

There’s also the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may damage peripheral nerves, just like shingles or HIV infection. Dr. Kelly Gebo, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Medicine said “What we don’t know is what’s a direct impact of the virus itself or what’s inflammation. These are things we’re trying to figure out.”

How Can You Treat Tingling Hands and Feet Due To COVID?

Paresthesia treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. To diagnose it, you’ll be asked:

  • Laboratory tests
  • A physical examination
  • Your medical history

If it’s COVID-related, that tingling sensation goes away within a few days in most cases. If patients are experiencing pain, they should consult their doctors, who may prescribe Tylenol or Motrin.

Similarly, you should consult a physician if you’re experiencing persistent nerve pain even after an infection.

How Common Are Numbness and Tingling Hands and Feet After COVID?

In early pandemic times, a 10-month study from Washington University Medical Campus in St. Louis found that patients with COVID-19 reported experiencing paresthesia three times more often than those who didn’t test positive for the virus.

One of the study’s co-authors, Simon Haroutounian, said “We found that nearly 30% of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 also reported neuropathy problems at the time of their diagnosis.” He added, “For 6% to 7% of them, the symptoms persisted for at least two weeks, and up to three months, suggesting this virus may have lingering effects on peripheral nerves.”

Nevertheless, as the study was performed at a single institution, there’s not enough evidence to draw any conclusions. It’s necessary to conduct more research to replicate the findings.

Key Takeaways

Tingling hands and feet can indicate various conditions. COVID is one of them. Nevertheless, there is a wide range of symptoms that can signal that you may have a COVID infection, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Body aches
  • Congestion or runny nose

And some unusual symptoms, like:

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