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Skin rashes possible symptom of coronavirus, experts say

Skin rashes could be another surprising synonym of the coronavirus, according to dermatologists and doctors.

Dr. Joanna Harp, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told ABC News she’s seen a growing number of coronavirus patients develop a pattern of lacy, net-like, dusky red rashes — some with death of skin cells — on their arms, legs, and buttocks.

These skin conditions are associated with a heightened clotting tendency some COVID-19 patients experience, Harp said.

“It is not yet known what causes the clotting tendency in these patients, but there is some suggestion that the virus may over-stimulate the immune system in certain patients,” Harp said. “And this overzealous immune response could somehow trigger a downstream clotting tendency.”

Similarly, Dr. Rajeev Fernando, an infectious disease expert in Southampton, New York, told health publication Prevention he’s seen a rash “a lot” in coronavirus patients.

“It’s often an erythematous rash,” he told the outlet, adding that sometimes the rash is “diffused, or spread out, and other times it’s localized to one area.”

A series of cases published by Italian doctors in late March also revealed that one in five patients had a skin issue — usually a red rash or a hive-like eruption, ABC News reported.

But while measles-like rashes, hives, or red, patchy areas have been reported more in patients with COVID-19, the connection is still uncertain because these conditions are often present as reactions to medications or in other viral infections, the outlet reports.

In light of this new symptom, the American Academy of Dermatology has now set up a COVID-19 dermatology registry for doctors and dermatologists treating coronavirus patients, and for patients with confirmed cases who develop a skin flare-up.

“Our hope is that information you and others provide will help us understand dermatologic manifestations of the COVID-19 virus,” the website reads.

Last week, the Spanish General Council of Official Podiatrist Colleges warned that some COVID-19 patients have experienced lesions on their feet “similar to those of chickenpox or measles.”

The health professionals said that the strange symptom, dubbed “COVID toes,” was observed among mostly young coronavirus patients in Italy, France and Spain.

In the US, a Los Angeles woman told KABC-TV her toe was “turning blue,” and “it just was so painful.”

The symptom can present much like frostbite, Dr. Amy Paller, chair of dermatology at Northwestern University, told the network.

“What we are seeing tends to be in response to the cold, but we’re seeing it in the middle of spring,” Dr. Paller said. “And it’s happening in such numbers as is COVID that we have to think there’s a connection.”

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