Covid-19 long haulers experiencing persistent skin problems: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 29, 2020

The researchers reviewed over 50 studies on the synergistic impact of Covid-19 on people with NCDs in low- and middle-income countries such as Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Nigeria

Some of those recovered from coronavirus are suffering from persistent skin problems long after their initial infection, as per the study published in the journal EurekAlert!.

The findings were presented at the 29th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The study stated that skin-related issues could be another burden for Covid-19 long haulers who get better with time but do not seem to fully recover from it .


For the study, the researchers laid an international registry for Covid-19 skin manifestations in April 2020. This was done in collaboration with the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology.

The researchers contacted clinicians in June and August to update Covid-19 laboratory test results and the duration of patients' skin symptoms.

The team defined long haulers as anyone with skin symptoms of Covid-19 that persisted for at least 60 days.

For the analysis, the team examined close to 1,000 cases with skin manifestations of Covid-19.

Among 224 total suspected cases and 90 laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 from 39 countries with information on symptom duration, the median duration of symptoms was 12 days.


Morbilliform -- rash that looks like measles -- and urticarial eruptions -- reddened, itchy welts -- lasted a median of seven days and four days, respectively, for patients with lab-confirmed Covid-19, with a maximum duration of 28 days.

Papulosquamous eruptions, which are scaly papules and plaques, lasted a median of 20 days in lab-confirmed cases, with one confirmed long hauler eruption lasting 70 days, the study observed.

Pernio/chilblains, or redness and swelling of the feet and hands, commonly known as "COVID toes," lasted a median of 15 days in patients with suspected COVID-19 and 10 days in lab-confirmed cases.

Senior author Esther E. Freeman, MD, Ph.D., director of Global Health Dermatology at MGH said: “Our findings reveal a previously unreported subset of patients with long-standing skin symptoms from Covid-19, in particular those with COVID toes. This data adds to our knowledge about the long-term effects of Covid-19 in different organ systems. The skin is potentially a visible window into inflammation that could be going on in the body,"

"We encourage clinicians taking care of patients with Covid-19 to ask about and evaluate any skin symptoms. Healthcare providers can enter information into our registry to further our understanding of its dermatologic effects,” she added.

Published on October 29, 2020

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