Surprising new coronavirus symptom has people itching for information

Surprising new coronavirus symptom has people itching for information

As the world continues to battle coronavirus, new symptoms are emerging that have people looking at their feet.

With headaches, muscle aches, a dry cough, fever, chills and losing your sense of taste and smell are established, doctors in Italy have noticed a rash appearing on people diagnosed with coronavirus’ toes.

Viral rashes can occur when anyone has a virus, but dermatologists in Italy investigated the rate of skin-related symptoms in COVID-19 patients, they discovered one in five coronavirus patients had developed a rash.

Texan dermatologist Dr Sanober Amin sparked interest when she suggested that “some skin findings are more consistent with superficial clotting in blood vessels close to the skin”.

“It looks like the blood vessels are getting clotted, so patients are presenting with painful bumps on their toes. A lot of these patients are younger population and most of them didn’t have any COVID symptoms or had mild symptoms to begin with,” she said.

For scientists, the rash is just more evidence that COVID is one of the “great imitators” as it can present with symptoms that sound like a cold or flu.

“There’s clearly a respiratory syndrome, and that’s why people end up in the hospital. Some people get a gastrointestinal illness with diarrhoea, maybe some abdominal pain, which may or may not be associated with a respiratory illness,” Dr Joseph Vinetz, an infectious disease specialist at Yale School of Medicine said.

However, Australian infectious diseases expert and ANU Professor Peter Collignon remains cautious.

“The one thing that you have to be a bit careful of is people with COVID can have other infections too,’’ he said.

“And some of those pictures looked like foot and mouth disease, which is a virus children get. So, you’ve got to be careful that what’s being attributed to COVID is not just another virus they have at the same time.

“You can’t assume that just because someone has COVID that COVID is the cause of a rash.”

The phenomena of COVID toes has not yet been recognised as a symptom by the World Health Organisation and more work needs to be done to investigate whether or not it is a legitimate symptom.

“This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress,” says the University of Pennsylvania’s chief of infectious disease Dr Ebbing Lautenbach.

 “Sometimes this might be your first clue that they have COVID when they don’t have any other symptoms.”

“The short answer is, nobody knows.”