The UK has been ravaged by COVID-19 and the extent of the assault became woefully apparent last week, when it was confirmed that 100,000 people had lost their lives to the disease. Although the UK is currently delivering a world-beating vaccine campaign, daily deaths and cases remain high thanks in part to the mutated variant of coronavirus. Amid this precarious state of affairs, it is vital to respond to any symptoms if and when they surface. A new study provides further impetus to this effort.
Research published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology has enumerated three skin changes that could signal the onset of COVID-19.
The study found chilblains, rashes and hives to be indicative of a COVID-19 infection.
The research, conducted at the Salamanca Clinic in Madrid, also suggested there was a pattern to the development of these non-classic symptoms.
According to the scientists, the skin reactions could surface before the usual symptoms of Covid, such as a cough and loss of taste, become apparent.
To gather their findings, data was pooled and analysed from patients between 7 and 13 and 28 and 83 years of age during the first wave of the pandemic.
In accompanying statement, the Madrid Metropolitan the hospital said: “Five different types of skin manifestations were registered of which 11 were acroischemic lesions or chilblains, nine exanthemas or rashes, two palpable purpura processes, one hives-like rash, and two non-specific.
“The research also found the existence of the virus in endothelial cells can activate “mechanisms that trigger the inflammation that causes dermatological lesions”.
Researchers said most of the skin lesions were found on the feet and lower extremities of the body.
There were however some isolated cases where they were found on the hands, they noted.
Researchers did not find any correlation between skin problems and “the severity of the respiratory condition derived from the infection”.
All of those who took part in the study showed symptoms of COVID-19 at the time their sample was taken.
PCR testing will tell you if you currently have COVID-19, rather than a past infection.
The researchers suggest early detection of these skin problems “can alert in some cases to SARS-CoV-2 disease and thus prevent the spread of the virus.”
What are the main symptoms of coronavirus?
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” explains the health body.
How to respond
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.