Link Between Post Covid Syndrome and Skin Weakness Problems

Some COVID-19 Patients Are Experiencing Skin Problems Even after Recovery, According to One Study

A new study illustrates that some patients with COVID-19 disease have continuous skin-associated symptoms or skin weakness (skin rash and muscle weakness) long after they cure from the first infection.

The results, presented at the 29th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology by scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), point to another burden experienced by so-called "long haulers" who get better but do not seem to completely cure from COVID-19 disease.

For the evaluation, scientists incorporated an international registry for COVID-19 skin symptoms in the month of April 2020, in cooperation with the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology.

Clinicians were contacted or communicated with in June and August to update COVID-19 lab test results and the length of patients COVID-19 skin symptoms. The team described long haulers as anyone with skin symptoms of coronavirus which continued for at least 60 days.

The team assessed nearly 1,000 cases of patients with skin symptoms of COVID-19. Among 224 total suspected cases and 90 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 39 countries with information on symptom length, the median duration of symptoms was 12 days.

Rash-like morbilliform and urticarial eruptions lasted an average of 7 days and 4 days, respectively, for patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, with a maximum time of 28 days. Papulosquamous eruptions or disorders, which are flaky or scaly papules (red, raised bumps) and plaques (a flat, thickened area of skin), lasted an average of 20 days in laboratory-confirmed cases, with 1 confirmed long haul carriers eruption lasting 70 days.

Pernio (inflammatory skin condition) / chilblains (painful inflammation of small blood vessels), or painfulness and inflammation of the feet and hands, generally called as "COVID toes," lasted an average of 15 days in patients with alleged COVID-19 and 10 days in laboratory-confirmed cases. Particularly, 6 patients with pernio (inflammatory skin condition) / chilblains (painful inflammation of small blood vessels) were long haul carriers with toe symptoms lasting at least 60 days, with two laboratory-confirmed patients with COVID-19 toes of greater than 130 days duration.

Our results reveal a subset of unreported patients with longstanding symptoms of COVID-19, particularly those with COVID-19 toes. This data allows us to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on various organic systems. The skin is potentially a visible window into swelling which could be going on in the body, said senior author Esther E Freeman, MD, PhD, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

We encourage clinicians taking care of patients with COVID-19 to ask about and assess any skin symptoms. Healthcare providers may enter information into our registry to better understand the skin effects of COVID-19, added Freeman.

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