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Coronavirus Skin Rashes: What You Need to Know

May 11, 2020
Walk-in Dermatology Press Release

Dermatology consultations can now be done from your home

NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK [May 11, 2020] – As more people are diagnosed with COVID-19 throughout New York and around the world, patients are showing a new possible symptom of the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Skin rashes appear on 20% to 25% of COVID-19 patients, according to a report published by dermatologists in Italy who treated coronavirus patients in one of the largest hotspots seen during the pandemic. About half of patients developed a rash when they first showed signs of infection; the remainder developed a rash after they were hospitalized. Similar skin conditions have since been seen in New York and throughout the United States.

The rash can take several forms. The rash may appear as tiny red dots or large, flat lesions. In some cases, the rash resembles a condition commonly known as hives.

Rashes that look like frostbite on toes have also been reported, although more research is needed to establish a clear connection with the coronavirus.

“It’s important to know that developing a skin rash does not automatically mean you have contracted COVID-19,” says Dr. Stacey Brisman, a board-certified dermatologist licensed in New York and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. “What it does mean is you may have a skin condition that needs medical evaluation and treatment.”

Other common symptoms of COVID-19 infection include loss of taste and smell, difficulty breathing, a profound sense of fatigue, as well as gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea. Skin rashes may at first appear pinkish-reddish and may turn purple over time. These rashes may also cause a burning sensation.

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.

If you have a skin rash and a fever, or if you develop a rash that is swelling, spreading, or causing pain, you should seek immediate medical evaluation.

If you are concerned about a new rash which you have not noticed before, you can book a Video Visit with one of our board-certified dermatologists from the comfort of your own home. One of our dermatologists can diagnose the condition, recommend a plan of treatment and prescribe medications if necessary. Learn more about our Video Visits. To book your appointment, simply click here or call us today at (516) 621-1982.