Dermatologists at Water’s Edge Dermatology have been warning the public about possible new signs of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. They include various coronavirus rashes as well as red or purple discolorations on the hands and feet, especially the toes. The phenomenon has been dubbed “COVID toes.”
Dr. Alissa O’Brien on CBS12 News
On an April 22 appearance on CBS12 News, Dr. Alissa O’Brien said she’s seen several patients who’ve displayed skin changes that could be the result of the coronavirus. She explained that shortly after hand or foot discolorations appear, small, painful blisters may form, eventually turning into lesions. Other types of rashes have been associated with COVID-19 as well, she noted.
If you’re experiencing unexplained rashes or discolorations on your hands or feet with no history of burns, Dr. O’Brien suggested consulting a dermatologist or another physician, at least virtually through telemedicine. If you book a telemedicine appointment, you should be able to send a photo to the provider in advance for assessment. She also suggested inquiring about getting a COVID-19 test if the provider doesn’t mention it. Anyone who is carrying the disease must be isolated to avoid spreading it to others.
Dr. Ted Schiff in Lake Okeechobee News
In an April 22 article in Lake Okeechobee News on purple spots on the toes or fingers, Dr. Ted Schiff, founder and chief medical officer of Water’s Edge Dermatology, was cited as an expert source. He explained that the spots are possible early signs of COVID-19 and called them “not an uncommon finding in coronavirus.” In children and young adults, he said the spots or a rash may be the only indication of coronavirus infection.
Dr. Schiff noted that the reason for the spots is not yet clear, but constriction or blockage of a blood vessel may be the culprit. The blood vessels can open and close in response to impulses from the nervous system, he said, and COVID-19 can affect the nervous system. The spots may eventually scab over.
Spots don’t mean the person has the coronavirus, only that they might — and should get tested if possible. They should also be isolated from others. “If I were a parent and I saw this, I would protect others from this child,” said Dr. Schiff. It could save a life, he added.
According to the article, Okeechobee County appears to have only a few confirmed cases of COVID-19, but it’s likely that more people have the disease and don’t know it or haven’t been tested.
If you or your child is experiencing skin changes like the ones described here, note that Water’s Edge Dermatology offices remain open. Water’s Edge Dermatology is also offering teledermatology visits for many skin conditions. To book a TeleDerm visit with a Water’s Edge Dermatology provider, go to wederm.com/telederm-appointment.
Article Written By: Marianne Wait, an award-winning health and wellness writer based in New Jersey.