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COVID-19 Rashes

What you should know, and when you should seek help
Walk-in Dermatology > COVID-19 Rashes

This informational webpage covers the possible connection between certain skin rashes, the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. This is an ongoing area of research among board-certified dermatologists. The information here should not be construed as medical advice. If you have skin concerns, contact Walk-in Dermatology for an appointment. We can help.

Coronavirus Symptoms May Include Skin Rashes

With the increasing spread of COVID-19, new symptoms of the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus continue to emerge. Early in the pandemic, medical professionals highlighted symptoms such as the loss of taste and smell. Then several gastrointestinal issues surfaced, including symptoms such as diarrhea. Now, there’s 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.

The American Academy of Dermatology set up a 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.

We’ve learned a lot in the last two years.

Why would the coronavirus cause a skin rash?

Many viral illnesses can cause a skin rash. 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. Your body is literally fighting back in every way it can against a foreign invader.

Since COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus, dermatologists are still learning about it. Whether skin rashes result from the immune system reacting to the virus, or whether the virus itself causes a direct effect on the skin is still to be determined. So it’s important to realize that the appearance of a skin rash doesn’t automatically mean you have COVID.

What causes a skin rash?

Rashes are very common and may be caused by infections, heat, allergens, immune system disorders or even medications. 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 is a connection between the coronavirus and skin rashes, we have put together a list of the reported skin conditions linked to COVID-19.

Uritcaria

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

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.

Morbiliform

Morbilliform

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

Livedo Reticularis

Livedo Reticularis

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

Vesicular

Vesicular

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

Petechial

Petechial

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

When to seek help

If your skin rash resembles any of the images above, or appears in tandem with a fever or chills, persistent cough, flu-like symptoms such as muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal distress including nausea, vomiting or diarrhea – or for any reason you cannot determine – make an appointment with your dermatologist. If you do have COVID, suffering through the discomfort of a skin rash can be one less thing to worry about. Effective treatments for skin rashes are available to ease the irritation and help you heal.

Let Walk-in Dermatology Take Care of You and Your Skin

If you have concerns about any skin condition and need dependable answers fast, you don’t have to wonder, worry or wait. Walk-in Dermatology is here to keep you healthy. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and experienced medical staff will address your concerns and provide the necessary care for all your skin conditions. We can set up a Video Visit and even prescribe medications remotely, or you can schedule an appointment with us online. The choice is yours. But don’t wait until the problem gets worse. Contact us today (516) 621-1982.