A research letter published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology details that COVID-19 may affect the skin.
According to researchers at Lecco Hospital in Italy’s Lombardy region (one of the hardest hit by the virus) over 20% of their patients had skin problems that developed at the same time as other symptoms of the virus.
The skin symptoms include a rash, hives, blisters, and lesions on the torso and feet.
Two other dermatological teams in Spain and Thailand also reported possibilities that COVID-19 may cause a rash in patients. In response to the European observations, the American Academy of Dermatology has opened up a registry for health professionals to log skin complaints that could be related to the virus for further study.
‘COVID toes’ is a condition where patients are presenting frostbite-like symptoms on their feet. The symptom is occurring particularly in children and younger patients who have acquired the virus. “What we are seeing tends to be in response to the cold, but we’re seeing it in the middle of spring,” Dr. Amy Paller, chair of dermatology at Northwestern University told ABC News. “And it’s happening in such numbers as is COVID that we have to think there’s a connection.”
According to dermatologists one of the barriers to understanding whether skin issues are a sign of an active phase of the disease or a late sign, which could indicate impending death, is the lack of widespread testing.
The United States has thus far tested over 4.1 million people which amounts to just around 1.2% of the population.
According to the CDC, typical symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough, shortness of breath. Atypical symptoms include chills, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, and diarrhea. Skin conditions have yet to be listed on the agency’s website. The CDC urges those with mild symptoms to continue to treat at home.