‘COVID Toes’ Might Be a Sign You Had the Disease
Ever since this COVID-19 pandemic started, there have been a number of reports of the symptoms you should look for if you think you have it. You’re most likely aware of the common symptoms:
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Muscle pain
– New loss of taste or smell
– Sore throat
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There are also less common symptoms that are reported like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. But have you heard of “COVID toes?”
Infectious disease experts suggest that “COVID toes” might be the result of the body’s inflammatory response being focused on the foot and toes. The lesions also could be tied to the clotting of blood vessels in these extremities. But there are no clear answers.
What patients are experiencing are red or purple bumps on their toes or hands, as well as a burning sensation, often with pain and tenderness. It seems to go away after about 2-3 weeks.
Similar lesions also occur in other types of viral infections, particularly viral respiratory infections that lead to ARDS.
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Many of the cases involving so-called “COVID toes” have been in children and young adults. Dr. Robin Gehris, division chief of pediatric dermatology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has documented about 30 cases of “COVID toes” in children, teens and young adults under 26.
Many of them had symptoms similar to COVID-19 several weeks before their toe lesions appeared. “COVID toes” appeared as red or purple lesions that were tender, itchy or both.
“Patients with ‘COVID toes’ seem to be healthy when it presents and we wonder if they could be in the process of mounting an antibody response to the virus with secondary inflammation,” Gehris told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
While COVID toes and rashes have been associated with the coronavirus more than other viral infections, Pulmonologist Dr. Humberto Choi explains that these symptoms haven’t been widespread so far.
“These symptoms seem to be more common in COVID-19 compared with all other viral infections,” says Dr. Choi. “But at this time, they haven’t affected a majority of people. So, the symptoms that people should be looking for are really a fever, cough and muscle aches that you can get when you have a viral infection. Those are the most common symptoms — and those are the things that people should be keeping on their radar.”
Dermatology experts say one of the challenges around these lesions is that the knowledge is continuing to evolve around how they