Dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of COVID-19, as you’ve heard from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But in addition to taking your temperature and paying attention to your breathing habits, did you know you should also take a look at your feet for indications of coronavirus?
If your toes start swelling, itching, or becoming discolored, it may be a sign you’ve contracted COVID-19. Researchers now commonly refer to this puzzling and unique symptom as “COVID toes”—keep reading to find out if you have them, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
What Are ‘COVID Toes’
COVID toes are easily identifiable as a rash, blisters, discoloration, or lesions on your toes. This discoloration may be pink or red and in some cases, it may be identified as white-colored sores on the toes.
In addition to skin irritation, people with COVID toes have also reported inflammation and swelling in their toes due to the condition. Some have also reported that this skin rash is itchy and painful to the touch, causing them to skip shoes and socks.
Who Gets ‘COVID Toes’?
While COVID toes occur in conjunction with coronavirus, the condition isn’t considered a presenting symptom of the virus. COVID toes is a rare symptom that’s been found to only affect a small percentage of COVID-19 patients. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to the virus or you’re showing other symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to get it checked out, even if your toes look and feel normal.
A study published in the the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology reported that only 20% of the coronavirus patients who participated in the study suffered from lesions on their toes. The study found that, “Lesions were localized to toes and also heels and soles.”
What Causes ‘COVID Toes’?
While COVID toes may look brutal and are an uncommon yet obnoxious side effect of contracting coronavirus, this symptom may actually be a good sign. According to Dr. Joanna Harp from Weill Cornell Medicine, “The majority of COVID toe patients seem to be completely asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. These patients often recover fully at home.”
According to Dr. Humberto Choi, MD from the Cleveland Clinic, “It’s not uncommon for someone to have a viral infection and have a rash or blotchy areas on their body. This can happen with other viral respiratory infections like measles.” Dr. Choi also concludes this condition may be “caused by a small clog or micro clots in the blood vessels found in the toes.”
What to Do If You Have ‘COVID Toes’?
Since COVID toes are a new and still uncommon symptom of COVID-19, researchers still aren’t sure what causes this condition. However, some professionals chalk this phenomenon up to the presence of the virus and how it affects blood vessels.
No matter what truly causes COVID toes, it’s important to know the correlation between this bizarre condition and a viral infection like coronavirus. As always, if you exhibit any symptoms of the virus or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested and stay quarantined so you don’t potentially contribute to the spread. Contact a medical professional immediately.
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 37 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.
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