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by Jacqueline Howard and Sandee LaMotte (AUGUST 5, 2020)
As Covid-19 started to spread across the United States earlier this year, dermatology offices began to see suspicious signs on some patients' skin: Red or purple toes, itchy hives, mottle bumps on fingers, a lacy red rash that spread across legs and arms.
But were those truly associated with the novel coronavirus? After all, many other factors could be at play.
"Many viral infections can trigger a skin rash, so when you catalog these case reports, you have to have other data. Was the patient on a medication a week before the rash began? Are there other possible causes?" asked Dr. Art Papier, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
"This is a challenge that Covid-19 brings up. With these different types of presentations and different rashes, is it hives because the patient just has hives or hives related to Covid-19?"
Measles-like rashes and rashes inside the mouth
Preliminary research has suggested that skin rashes and lesions inside the mouth might be a symptom of coronavirus infection - but researchers say more study is needed.
In May, scientists around the world did a literature review and found patients were also presenting with red, itchy welts, and with a red or pinkish rash that looked a lot like measles.
"It's a reaction that we typically call morbilliform which means measles, which presents in kind of pink spots, lots of little pink spots all over the skin," said Papier, the dermatologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
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