Is a Rash a Symptom of COVID-19?

by iupilon

Frighteningly, the COVID toe rash appears to be on the rise as one of the more disturbing features of the viral disease that has now caused lockdowns in several regions in the world. Since the global pandemic has begun, people have probably become aware of only a handful of symptoms, such as dry coughs and fever. However, growing hospital data from around the world shows that less common clinical signs are beginning to appear. 

These symptoms include the dreaded COVID toes or COVID rash in kids, diarrhea, and vomiting. Nausea has also been reported in instances, and people must know the entire range of symptoms that are now manifesting in patients with COVID-19.

COVID-19 rash is more common in kids as opposed to adults. According to doctors, the rashes appear to be more likely to occur in this new strain of coronavirus than other strains. We have to remember that the coronavirus family is made up of so many other viruses that have standard features.

However, not all coronaviruses infect humans. Many of them infest livestock and wild animals like bats. One of the vectors or agents of spreading the coronavirus to the human population is bats.

What do these rashes mean?

While many people proceed with doom and gloom thinking (which is understandable), we must remember that new clinical signs or symptoms like rashes occur because people react differently to infections. This has been observed in bacterial infections and viral infections.

These symptoms are not new, and they may even be caused by a patient’s reaction to the medication provided to control the signs of a current COVID-19 infection. Right now, there is no specific rash pattern that has been strongly associated with COVID-19.

One theory suggests that because the rashes appear on the toes and even soles of some patients, the outbreaks are a manifestation of microscopic clots taking place at the capillary level. However, these clogs are relatively small, and they are not a primary cause of concern even if photos of COVID toes look too severe.

The discoloration that we observe has not been correlated yet to the degree at which a COVID-19 infection is progressing in the body. So is it a moderate symptom or a severe symptom? We don’t know yet. We understand that these rashes tend to appear when the COVID-19 patient is younger than 20.

Experts warn, however, that people should not be dismissive of any of the symptoms of COVID-19, especially the hallmark symptoms (fever and dry cough). If you feel that at any point you may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, the best recourse is to get tested for the virus.

This is the only way to tell if you have it, and it is the only definite way to be treated if you have a current infection.

There is also a risk of developing symptoms again days after you have recovered from the virus, so hospitals are now turning to serological analysis to determine if healthcare workers have contracted the virus in the past and have not shown symptoms at the time of active infection.

What else should we know about COVID toes and skin rashes?

Presently, not much is known about the mysterious appearance of skin rashes on the skin of COVID-19 patients. Within the dermatology community in the United States, for example, doctors admit that they are only beginning to receive reports of such rashes developing in COVID-19 patients. In one story related to these clinical symptoms, it has been found that about twenty percent of patients developed the rash during active infection.

They call it an erythematous rash. Other patients reported that they had hives too, while others developed more severe skin lesions that resulted in blisters similar to what people with chickenpox have. The erythematous rashes were said to be most common on the trunk area of those afflicted with it.

Another interesting report from Thailand revealed a misdiagnosis case because they thought the rash was from dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue patients often develop rashes too, and the pattern was similar.

What kinds of rashes can appear on COVID-19 patients?

Several rashes have been documented. “COVID toes” refers to painful and often itchy rashes that appear on the digits of the feet and toes on the feet. Mildly infected youngsters have developed these in countries like Spain.

They appear more commonly in the later stages of the disease. Blistery rashes, the second type, produce tiny and uniformly sized blisters that often emerged on the abdomen and the back of patients. Blistery rashes often appeared at the beginning of a COVID-19 infection, in sharp contrast with COVID toes that is more common in the later stages of the disease.

Hive-like rashes produce elevated skin lesions. The lesions can either be whitish or reddish, depending on the patients. Sometimes, these hive-like rashes spread throughout the trunk and also emerged on the palms of COVID-19 patients. Once the rashes appear, they would remain visible on the skin for an average of one week.  

Maculopapular rashes, on the other hand, are reddish bumps that developed in more widespread patches. This type of rash usually emerges alongside significant symptoms, which generally only takes one to three days after exposure to COVID-19. This type of rash is associated with severe cases and will stay on the skin for more than a week – usually nine days, to be exact. This is the most common form of rash observed in all of those affected.

Almost 50% of all patients experienced it.

Livedo or necrosis is the deadliest form of rash and is usually a sign that the patient’s blood circulations have been affected.  What healthcare providers often observe are lace-like formations on the skin, coupled with purplish discoloration. About 6% of COVID-19 patients showed livedo.


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