In a recent discussion of Covid-19 with a healthcare professional, she asked me about any changes in the appearance of my toes. At first I thought I heard it wrong.
Naturally confused, I asked why. Was this a coronavirus symptom that I had not yet heard of?
“Yes, this is something we hear a lot about,” came the reply. This is indeed another possible symptom of Covid-19 infection, it seems – even for the record, my toes are fine.
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Dermatologists are inundated with calls from people asking why their toes, and sometimes their fingers, turn purple and pink.
Alarmingly, most people reporting the symptom were unaware that they had been exposed to the coronavirus. Many are young and healthy and have had no other symptoms, reports Fox 5 News.
The condition has been nicknamed “Covid toes” and is being studied by a working group of the American Academy of Dermatology which is studying a number of skin problems reported by patients of Covid-19.
Cases have been recorded worldwide, in the United States, France, Italy, Spain and China, and it is being studied as a possible sign that Covid-19 may be more common in the population than ‘we never thought before.
Similar in appearance to frostbite, it is believed that a case of “Covid toes” reports a mild or asymptomatic infection and may develop weeks after exposure to the coronavirus.
Other skin conditions have also been linked to the virus, including hives, red spots, and various rashes – but none with the prevalence of Covid toes.
“The good news is that frostbite-like lesions usually mean you’re fine,” said Dr. Fox. The New York Times. “Usually it’s a good sign that your body has seen Covid and has a good immune response. “
It is not yet known why the condition occurs. One theory is that they are caused by inflammation, which causes some of the other symptoms of Covid-19; another suggests that they are the result of blood micro clots, another manifestation of the virus.
The condition usually heals within a week, although some cases last longer. It leaves no long-term damage to the skin.
The advice for those who develop this symptom is to contact a doctor and get tested for Covid-19 and its antibodies. You could potentially be contagious.