NEW YORK - It's unclear how the skin changes are related to the coronavirus but it's a condition that is showing up in people, even if they've tested negative for COVID-19.
Dr. Lindy Fox, a dermatologist, said her practice is seeing "many, many patients" with toes and fingers turning purple and pink, a symptom now being linked to COVID-19.
"Almost too many to count," she said. "Dermatologists are being inundated with calls from people saying, 'What are these purple changes on my toes and fingers?'".
And what is alarming is the majority of people with this symptom never thought they were even exposed to the coronavirus.
"They're usually teenagers or young adults that had absolutely no symptoms of COVID at all," said Dr. Raman Madan, a dermatologist at Northwell Health Huntington Hospital on Long Island.
"It seems to be happening in people who are completely without symptoms otherwise," Dr. Alisa Femia, the director of inpatient dermatology at NYU Langone, said. "They're younger, healthier."
"It's becoming a sign that COVID-19 may be more prevalent in our society than we actually realized," said Dr. Fox, who is with the University of California San Francisco, and also a member of the COVID-19 task force for the American Academy of Dermatology, which has created a registry of patients to study numerous skin issues people are experiencing. The latest is skin discoloration dubbed "COVID toes."
"We looked back and saw this was happening in France, Italy, Spain," she said.
Dr. Madan said COVID-19 has manifested into just about every rash you can imagine.
"People are breaking out in hives, red blotches all over their body and even developing rashes that look like chickenpox," he said.
Dr. Madan said that it is entirely possible we could see even more new symptoms materialize from COVID-19 moving forward.
"I wouldn't be surprised by that at all," Dr. Madan said.
The COVID toes condition tends to go away on its own within about a week and you will not have long-term damage to your skin, doctors said. But if you do get this symptom, you should call your doctor and get tested for COVID-19 as well as the antibody test.
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