- A University hospital study from Spain suggests that a rash can sometimes be the first sign of a coronavirus infection.
- A similar study from the UK found that 17% of COVID patients experienced a rash as their first symptom.
According to new research from the University Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid, Spain, the sudden appearance of a rash could be an early sign of a COVID-19 infection. The study, which was recently published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, specifically looked at coronavirus patients between March and April of 2020 and found that some patients noticed a rash before more common symptoms like cough and fever manifested.
The incidence of rash among COVID-19 patients, however, doesn’t appear to be too common. To this point, the CDC doesn’t list a rash on its list of official symptoms. That notwithstanding, it’s still something to be on the lookout for if you think you might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
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If this all sounds familiar, some COVID-19 patients have experienced COVID toes, a symptom where rash or itchy bumps appear on the skin, but primarily in the foot area.
As to why some people might see a rash when infected with COVID, Dr. Humberto Choi explains via the Cleveland Clinic:
It’s not uncommon for someone to have a viral infection and have a rash or blotchy areas on their body. This can happen with other viral respiratory infections like measles.
Meanwhile, a UK study on COVID patients carried out last year argues that skin rash should be viewed as an early coronavirus symptom:
Researchers discovered that 8.8% of people reporting a positive coronavirus swab test had experienced a skin rash as part of their symptoms, compared with 5.4% of people with a negative test result. Similar results were seen in a further 8.2% of users with a rash who did not have a coronavirus test, but still reported classic COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, fever or anosmia (loss of smell).
17% of respondents testing positive for coronavirus reported a rash as the first symptom of the disease. And for one in five people (21%) who reported a rash and were confirmed as being infected with coronavirus, the rash was their only symptom.
Dr. Choi, meanwhile, takes an opposing view and writes that a rash should not be the main symptom people should be on the lookout for:
These symptoms seem to be more common in COVID-19 compared with all other viral infections. 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.
The full list of common coronavirus symptoms, per the CDC, reads as follows:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
To date, the U.S. has seen 26.2 million coronavirus cases and 441,296 associated deaths.