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Coronavirus Outbreak

Is Skin Rash A New COVID-19 Symptom? Experts Explain

A new study which has been submitted for peer review has found that 8.8 per cent of people reporting a positive coronavirus swab test had experienced a skin rash as part of their symptoms, here’s what doctors have to say

Is Skin Rash A New COVID-19 Symptom? Experts Explain
  • 17% of COVID-19 positive respondents reported rash as first symptom: Study
  • 21% of COVID-19 patients reported rash as their only symptom: Study
  • 3 kinds of rashes found: Urticarial, prickly heat COVID fingers and toes

New Delhi: Almost seven months into dealing with the Novel Coronavirus and the medical experts across the world continue to discover new aspects of the SARS-CoV-2. The virus causing COVID-19 was considered as a respiratory infection but now the impact is being seen on other parts of the body like gut, taste buds and even skin. As part of the latest findings, the COVID Symptom Study, led by researchers from King’s College London and health science company ZOE, have discovered that 8.8 per cent of people reporting a positive coronavirus swab test had experienced a skin rash as part of their symptoms.

The researchers did an online survey covering 12,000 people with skin rashes and suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The team sought images of rashes from survey respondents, especially from people of colour, who are currently under-represented in dermatology resources.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Are The Long-Term Impacts Of COVID-19 On Human Body And The Recovery Process?

The two major findings of the study are:

  1. 17 per cent of respondents testing positive for coronavirus reported a rash as the first symptom of the disease.
  2. One in five people (21 per cent) who were confirmed as being infected with coronavirus, reported rash as their only symptom.

The study has put the rashes into three kinds – hive-type rash (urticaria) – raised itchy rash that appears on the skin; prickly heat or chickenpox-type rash; COVID fingers and toes (chilblains) – reddish and purplish bumps on the fingers or toes, which may be sore but not usually itchy.

The study results have been submitted to a scientific journal for rapid peer review and publication. NDTV spoke to medical experts to understand the symptoms in the context of the Indian population. Talking about the new finding and if similar symptoms have been noted among patients in India, Dr Ravindra Mehta, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Apollo Hospitals in Bengaluru, said,

In our experience, people are not largely complaining of this. It’s not like they have only rash. Usually, it is a fever and a rash and that time we are also stuck figuring out whether it is because of the COVID-19, because of some medication or just a phenomenon that’s happening simultaneously.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: 15 COVID-19 Related Terms And What These Mean

Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director, Medical Research at Jaslok Hospital noted that there have been similar reports from other countries including India and the occurrence of skin rashes during COVID-19 has been known for a few weeks now. He added,

Skin rashes are not a way of diagnosing COVID because they can occur in multiple cases.

Dr Rashmi Sharma, Consultant, Dermatology at Fortis Hospital in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj said different kinds of rashes have been seen on the body of COVID-19 patients and added,

I have seen urticaria rashes and there have been reports of chicken pox type rashes. But the thing is, it’s not clear whether these are directly related to COVID-19. Some kind of lesions is seen in viral infections and adverse drug reactions.

Further talking about the treatment that follows in case of varied COVID-19 symptoms, Dr Sharma said,

The treatment protocol remains the same. Once the primary infection will clear, these rashes will automatically disappear because these are manifestations. If there is an ulcer, it has to be managed along with coronavirus infection.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is A Cytokine Storm And How Is It Fuelling COVID-19? Experts Answer

In the past also, COVID-19 symptoms have evolved and new symptoms like loss of taste and smell have been added to the initial list of symptoms. Talking about the ever changing nature of COVID-19 and the new findings, Dr Mehta said,

What is happening in COVID-19 spectrum is, as new clinical symptoms come up they are being alerted. I would call this virus master mimic, a term originally used for tuberculosis. This virus is one of the most unusual organisms which have its portal of entry with the respiratory tract. But once it enters, it has a spread way beyond what we imagined with most of the viruses. So, the respiratory tract was the initial focus and now it has gone to every other area. Right from the lung to the gastrointestinal tract to the vascular system to the central nervous system to the eyes to the skin, Coronavirus is showing its manifestation in every area.

Also Read: US Medical Body Identifies Six New Symptoms Of The Novel Coronavirus

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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