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Potential COVID-19 Symptom: Skin Rashes

by | Jun 26, 2021 | Doctor, Issue 124, Medicine | 0 comments

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has quite literally taken the world by storm. At this point, COVID-19 has been in the spotlight of every media outlet for the past year and a half. But they haven’t accurately covered everything. While the current symptoms are a combination of fatigue, aches, and difficulty breathing, a new symptom has appeared in more recent studies: skin rashes.

Though the Centers for Contagious Diseases and Prevention (CDC) has not updated their list to include skin rashes, they do indicate that there can be other symptoms that they have not confirmed. According to an extensive study published by the British Journal of Dermatology in January, skin rashes can indicate COVID-19.

The Current Findings

The results of the British study cannot be counted as conclusive evidence. Still, it is interesting to note that COVID-19 studies underway in 2020 indicated that skin rashes could be one of the few external factors through which we can recognize the virus. Those studies had limited test subjects and multiple variables, leading them to be inconclusive.

Since COVID-19 primarily targets the respiratory system, finding external indicators of the virus can prove helpful to identifying and controlling the pandemic further. The British Journal of Dermatology study had a larger sample size than past studies, using a COVID-19 app to track symptoms amongst 336,847 users in the UK. Seventeen percent of positive cases had indicated skin rashes, and twenty-one percent had skin rashes as the only external factor.

A few past studies with smaller sample audiences were conducted in Spain, Italy, and China, showing a less than 20% indication of skin rashes with COVID-19.

To document these rashes, the British Association of Dermatology created the website, COVID-19 Skin Patterns, which contains the pictures and information of all noted rashes. These rash types include papular, vesicular, urticarial, and COVID digits. COVID digits are a unique skin condition of chilblains, which involve purple and pink blisters on the fingers and toes.

COVID digits could be caused by muscle atrophy, decreasing the blood flow within the muscles and tissues and creating conditions for blistering in the digits. Definite connections between COVID-19 and skin rashes are not final, but continued efforts to document these limited results could improve future patient care.

For Further Consideration

As more research comes forward, maintaining a healthy state through needed nutrition and physical exercise is essential. Current studies do not indicate that rashes are caused by physical contact since that symptom is not consistently present in each COVID-19 patient.

However, this virus is more easily spread than the flu, so being cautious about possible exposure, especially for those with underlying symptoms, is still essential. Minimizing vitamin deficiency can also decrease the chances of contracting the virus and its following symptoms.

If you would like to read more about COVID-19, you can browse our articles here. Read “What COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Mental Health” here.

Please note that further research is necessary and underway to confirm that skin rashes are directly and consistently results of the Coronavirus.

Brianna Connors
Brianna Connors

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Brianna now hangs her hat in the mountains of the East Coast. She is an Alumna of Liberty University with a degree in Criminal Justice and is a multiple time recipient of the Dean’s list award. As one of the senior journalists of Top Doctor Magazine, she has had the pleasure of interviewing many doctors and professionals about their fields of expertise.

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