Dermatology and COVID-19: What You Should Know

Since the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in the United States in January of this year, the country has been inundated with news about this novel coronavirus. 

Some of the information has changed, and some has been constant, such as symptoms that include a dry cough, fever, and fatigue. But experts are quick to point out that not everyone with Covid-19 experiences these symptoms.

Some people have a fever, and others don’t. Some are asymptotic entirely. Other common symptoms subsequently emerged in addition to a cough and fever, such as loss of taste and smell and headaches.

Medical professionals have also reported skin conditions such as rashes, blisters, and lesions on Covid-19 patients. If you have a rash, should you get tested? 

At Los Gatos Dermatology, here’s what our medical team, led by Bruce Saal, MD, wants you to know about skin and Covid-19.

Lesions on the hands and feet 

Pernio-like lesions, also called chilblains, have been found on Covid-19 patients around the world. In some cases, the lesions were the only symptom, and in others, the lesions surfaced after other symptoms developed. 

Pernio-like lesions are inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin. They can cause itching, red patches, swelling, and blistering.

Red rashes

Early reports from Thailand and Italy indicate that a red, patchy skin rash might be another symptom of Covid-19. 

One report found that 20% of patients who tested positive for Covid-19 developed a rash, with half developing it at the onset of disease, and the other half developing it after hospitalization. 

Mottling, blisters, and other skin manifestations

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to Covid-19 symptoms because they can greatly vary. Other reports have found blisters and purple mottling associated with Covid-19. The bottom line is if you have a mysterious skin issue, discuss it with Dr. Saal immediately.

Wear-and-tear on the skin

Other dermatologic issues associated with Covid-19 are symptoms that occur because of precautions taken to protect yourself from the virus. 

Constant hand-washing can result in dryness and rashes. And a study found that health care workers who wore fitted masks complained of acne, facial itching, irritation, and rashes from wearing an N95 mask.

If you have a new skin rash or lesion and you’re concerned it may be a symptom of Covid-19, or you’re not sure what caused it, call us at Los Gatos Dermatology. We’ll let you know if you should come in for an appointment with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Bruce Saal.

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