'COVID Toes?' Condition Often Appears in Patients Who Have No Other Symptoms

Medical staff in protective gear administer a test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in Paramus, N.J., Friday, March 20, 2020. The coronavirus testing center opened Friday in Bergen County which has been the state’s hardest-hit area. Gov. Phil Murphy said only those with symptoms should get in line, and not those whom he called the “worried well,” people who are feeling well but are concerned they could be infected. The facility will have the capacity to conduct 2,500 tests a week, according to the governor. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)



According to Fox News’ Ed DeMarche, doctors treating coronavirus patients have reported cases of unusual skin issues that they say resembles frostbite.

A patient in California told ABC7 News that the virus began with a cough and a fever. Then her feet became irritated and painful. When she was getting in the shower one day, she said she looked down and “I was like, Oh my gosh, my toe is turning blue, I felt like I had really bad blisters on it.”

Dr. Esther Freeman, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told NBC’s “Today” that “COVID toes” can appear as “purple lesions” on your feet or hands. She also said it may be a patient’s only symptom or one of several symptoms. “The condition resembles pernio, caused by exposure to cold temperatures, resulting in inflammation which can appear as skin sores or bumps.”

“One hypothesis is there’s just a lot of inflammation caused by the virus,” Freeman said.The other theory is that it could be the result of blood vessel clots.” Freeman added, “I don’t feel comfortable saying it’s one or the other. It could be a bit of both.”

Dr. Marjon Vatanchi of Brown University Dermatology told WLNE, “We’re noticing that a lot of these individuals, once we believe that they have some systemic symptoms and should be tested, they’re testing positive. So now when we’re seeing these findings in individuals with no symptoms, we’re asking them to be tested and they’re coming back as COVID positive.”

Dr. Lindy Fox, a professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco told TODAY that, “while other skin symptoms have appeared in COVID-19-positive patients, this symptom appears to be COVID-specific.” The TODAY article cites a case report from the European Journal of Pediatric Dermatology which says this condition has “never been observed in the past.”


DeMarche points out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “does not list any kind of skin irregularity as a coronavirus symptom.”

The fact is, for some portion of those who are infected, “COVID Toes” might be their only symptom, and they will have no idea they have the virus. The American Academy of Dermatology is working to get this information out there. They have also set up a nationwide registry to track potential skin issues linked to the coronavirus.

The TODAY article posts several photos of what COVID toes look like. Here is the link.


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