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Video: COVID-19 And Skin Lesions. What Is Known Today
COVID-19 and skin lesions. What is known today
Scientists have described at least six types of rash with COVID-19. Let's figure out what this rash is and whether it can enrich our understanding of the disease.
Photo: CC0 Public Domain
In recent months, scientists around the world have been working on a detailed description of the manifestations of COVID-19 from the lungs and other organs. Data on skin symptoms that doctors encounter in patients with coronavirus infection are regularly updated. We figure out what these symptoms are and whether you need to critically examine your skin in case of ailment in search of the “trademark” SARS-CoV-2.
In early reports, cutaneous manifestations in COVID-19 were rarely mentioned. A large study published in the New England Journal of Medicine at the end of February indicated that they occurred in 0.2% of patients. But when dermatologists joined the description of the symptoms, we learned more about the manifestations of the disease from the skin.
How it all began
One of the earliest reports of a link between COVID-19 and skin changes was a small report from Italian doctors who worked in areas most affected by the disease. They found skin symptoms in one in five of 88 study participants. Earlier, there was a small publication by Thai scientists who reported that the rash can complicate the diagnosis of coronavirus infection, and in some cases it can be confused with money fever.
What can be the cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19
A rash can be a very characteristic symptom of an infectious disease, sometimes it can only be diagnosed by it. But skin lesions about COVID-19 can hardly be called specific so far. The authors of the article in the British Journal of Dermatology distinguish several types of rashes with coronavirus infection:
maculopapular (like measles);
- urticaria (urticaria-like blisters);
- reticular asphyxia (purple mesh pattern);
- A vesicular rash (blisters like chickenpox)
- "Covid fingers".
In addition, doctors recently described a case of petechial rash in a man at JAMA Dermatology. This rash is associated with rupture of small vessels in the skin.
In early April, the term “COVID toes” appeared - it refers to specific changes in the toes. We mention it separately as this symptom appears to be the most specific for coronavirus infection. One of the first descriptions of them appeared in early April by a group of scientists from France. The skin of the toes, which were observed by specialists with COVID-19, was red-pink (doctors called it "pseudo-frostbite"), with blisters temporarily present. Such patients could see dermatologists, but they did not always show the usual symptoms of coronavirus infection.
In mid-April, in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatolog, doctors told about a case of skin lesions on the fingers (it had a purple hue) in a Belgian student.
The discoloration and blistering of the fingers with COVID-19 is often accompanied by a burning sensation. American dermatologist Esther Freeman reported this in a commentary to the Washington Post.
Fingers may not be "covid"
Although the first descriptions of skin lesions in COVID-19 are over a month old, it is too early to call them a specific symptom of the disease, experts say. In a commentary to Live Science, Kanade Shinkai, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said:
"It is unclear if the skin lesions we see with COVID are a direct consequence of illness or if they are the result of an active immune system." Shinkai points out that now it also remains unknown how often skin changes occur with COVID-19, whether they say something about the prognosis of the disease.
In an article published in JAMA Dermatology, Shinkai and co-authors also point out that a skin rash with COVID-19 may be the result not only of this disease, but also a reaction to other medications and even a sign of other concomitant infections. Dermatologists write that although covid fingers have become widely known through the media and social media, scientists have yet to understand the problem of skin lesions in COVID-19.