As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, new research about its symptoms has been discovered. According to the World Health Organisation, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and loss of taste and smell are considered the most prevalent markers of the novel coronavirus. But doctors and dermatologists are now in the information-gathering phase regarding the possible manifestation of the virus in skin conditions, which show up like rashes and irritation.
“At this point it’s too early on to diagnose a rash as a COVID-19 rash because there aren’t enough studies supporting what particular type of rash could appear,” says Dr Harshna Bijlani, Medical Director at The Ageless Clinic. “The most common ones that have been reported are a rash on the hand and feet. These chilblains have been termed Covid toes, and show up as discolouration of the fingers and toes,” she says. “On some patients, doctors saw blisters on the abdomen and back, or small, slightly elevated reddish or white patches on the skin. For some people, small reddish bumps on a flat patch of the skin was seen.” Livedo or skin mottling is also present in some cases, and indicates occlusion of blood vessels near the skin due to poor circulation.
“Management of these rashes is symptomatic just like the treatment of COVID. If you have any rashes, it’s better to consult an expert in the field,” says Dr Geetika Mittal, founder of ISAAC Luxe. If you need a quick-fix at home, she suggests emollient creams or calamine to soothe topical symptoms, but both doctors suggest reaching out to a professional through a virtual visit. “At a time like this, seeing a doctor could do more harm than good because not only are there not enough studies to show a direct relation between rashes and COVID but going to a doctor or a hospital could put you more at risk in any case,” says Dr Bijlani. The most important caveat? Don’t panic. “Rashes could be caused due to several reasons,” including stress, medications like antibiotics or a ramped up immune system, so jumping to conclusions isn’t ideal. “Still, you shouldn’t self-diagnose. I suggest you do an online consultation with your skin doctor, follow their advice and closely monitor your skin condition,” she says.
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