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Coronavirus Rashes

Walk-in Dermatology > Coronavirus Rashes

We put together this informational webpage to discuss the possible connection between certain skin rashes, the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. This is an active area of research amongst board-certified dermatologists who are in the early stages of data collection. This information should not be construed as medical advice.

Does coronavirus cause skin rashes?

As more people are diagnosed with COVID-19, new symptoms of the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus are surfacing. First, medical professionals highlighted symptoms including the loss of taste and smell. Then several gastrointestinal issues surfaced including symptoms such as diarrhea. Now, there’s new evidence to suggest that patients infected with coronavirus can experience a skin rash as well.

An early report published by dermatologists who worked with COVID-19 patients in Italy found that 20% of patients exhibited some kind of skin-related symptoms. Of those patients, half developed a rash when they first showed signs of the virus, and the other half developed the rash after they were hospitalized.

To address the growing concern in this area, the American Academy of Dermatology recently set up a dermatology registry for doctors treating COVID-19 patients and for patients with confirmed cases to assist in tracking the ways in which the virus might impact the skin.

Why would the coronavirus cause a skin rash?

Many viral illnesses cause a skin rash. And the coronavirus may prove to be no exception. In this video by Sandra Lee, MD (a.k.a. “Dr. Pimple Popper”), she describes how a skin rash could simply be caused by your immune system’s response to the coronavirus.

Since COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus, many dermatologists are still learning about it. Whether skin rashes result from the immune system reacting to the virus, or whether the virus itself creates a direct effect on the skin is still to be determined.

Should I assume that because I have a rash that I have COVID-19?

The short answer to this question is NO. Rashes are very common and may be caused by various infections, heat, allergens, immune system disorders or even medications. To date, skin rashes are not listed by the CDC and World Health Organization as a common symptom of COVID-19. Typically, people infected with the coronavirus have fever, a dry cough, shortness of breath, and chills, among other symptoms.

However, given increasing study of this area and mounting evidence that there may be some connection between the coronavirus and skin rashes, we have put together a list of the reported skin manifestations of COVID-19.

If you are concerned about a new rash which you have not noticed before, we encourage you to seek professional evaluation and treatment. You can book a Video Visit with one of our board-certified dermatologists from the comfort of your own home. To book your appointment, simply click here or call us today at (516) 621-1982.

Urticaria (Hives)

Urticarial wheals were reported in COVID-19 patients in Italy and have been observed in confirmed as well as suspected cases in France, Finland, and the United States.

Acral Ischemia

Micro-thrombi caused by COVID-19 cause acral ischemic lesions resembling perniosis, that are often painful or itchy. This has been referred to as “COVID toes” in the mainstream press and has been seen in many healthcare workers in United States.

Morbilliform

Diffuse maculopapular eruption seen in COVID-19 patients in Italy, France and Finland as seen in many viral exanthems including Dengue.

Livedo Reticularis

Transient blanching or mottling of the skin from ischemia of cutaneous blood vessels.

Vesicular

Chicken pox-like vesicles on erythematous base seen in COVID patients in Italy.

Petechial

Italian study reported petechial eruption in COVID-19 confirmed patients from bleeding under the skin.

If you are concerned about a new rash which you have not noticed before, we encourage you to seek professional evaluation and treatment. You can book a Video Visit with one of our board-certified dermatologists from the comfort of your own home. To book your appointment, simply click here or call us today at (516) 621-1982.