A SKIN rash should be considered the fourth official coronavirus symptom, experts have warned.
Researchers say they have identified eight different types of skin rash which could be a potential sign of Covid-19.
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The experts from King's College London, who run the Covid Symptom Tracker app, noticed a rise in users reporting the unusual reaction.
They found that nine per cent of people who had tested positive for coronavirus also had either a body rash or a rash on their fingers or toes.
Researchers said rashes were twice as common in children as in adults and may be a better predictor of having a swab test than a fever or cough.
According to the data, rashes may appear before, during or after the presence of other Covid symptoms and sometimes many weeks later.
Rashes were also the only sign of infection for 21 per cent of people with a positive nasal swab.
As a result of these findings, the experts asked people to anonymously submit images of their rash for further investigation.
They received 3,195 pictures in total, which were reviewed, classified and curated by a team of senior dermatologists.
Together with the British Association of Dermatologists, they have put together an online gallery showing 400 of the images.
They've split them into eight different types of rash…
1. Hive-type rash (urticaria)
Sudden appearance of raised bumps on the skin which come and go quite quickly over hours and are usually very itchy.
It can involve any part of the body, and often starts with intense itching of the palms or soles, and can cause swelling of the lips and eyelids.
These rashes can present quite early on in the infection, but can also last a long time afterwards.
2. ‘Prickly heat’ or chickenpox-type rash
Areas of small, itchy red bumps that can occur anywhere on the body, but particularly the elbows and knees as well as the back of the hands and feet.
The rash can persist for days or weeks.
3. Covid fingers and toes (chilblains)
Reddish and purplish bumps on the fingers or toes, which may be sore but not usually itchy.
This type of rash is most specific to Covid-19, is more common in younger people with the disease, and tends to present later on.
Experts hope that they could go on to help people, and doctors, identify whether an unusual rash could be a sign of coronavirus.
4. Pityriasis rosea
This is an acute eruption recognised by dermatologists.
Pityriasis rosea can be seasonal in nature, typically occurring in autumn and winter.
It is thought to be viral in origin, although never proven.
This type of rash usually affects young individual, but more people reporting this pattern during the pandemic have been noted.
It appears to first present with an initial large “herald” patch, followed a few days later by multiple smaller patches on the torso or limbs and can last several months before clearing.
5. Neck and chest eczema
This rash appears on the neck and on the anterior part of the chest at sites exposed to sunlight.
It is usually quite pink and is very itchy. It can appear at any time during or after the infection and usually lasts a long time.
Lips may feel sore and can become dry and scaly as they recover.
Soreness inside the mouth can also occur.
This pattern is easily recognisable as it presents with multiple deep red or purplish spots.
It can cause bruise-like patches.
The spots or patches are caused by damage in the superficial tiny blood vessels with bleeding into the skin.
This is a common pattern seen in viral infections with a symmetrical rash comprising numerous reddish blotches or bumps over the body.
It is usually accompanied by symptoms of a viral illness, such as fever, cough and malaise.
Patients with suspected Covid could present with this pattern, but may have no other symptoms, experts say.
'Make rash official'
They are also urging the Goverment to add rashes to the official coronavirus symptom list.
It comes after the same team also flagged that users were reporting a loss of sense of taste and smell, which was later added to the list.
Veronique Bataille, consultant dermatologist, who led the Covid skin study, said: “Our research shows that rashes can be more predictive of Covid-19 than fever and cough, particularly in children.
"We found that one in six children gets a rash without any other classical symptoms.
"For most, Covid-19 rashes last for a few weeks and eventually disappear. In some cases, prescribed medication may be needed if the rash is very itchy.”
Professor Tim Spector,an epidemiologist at King's College London and lead of the Covid Symptom app, said: “Thanks to our millions of app users we were quickly able to confirm the link between skin rashes and Covid-19 but also the timing of the rashes, their associations with other Covid-19 symptoms, as well as the different types of rashes across different age groups.
"We are extremely grateful to all app users who provided pictures via the app as without them none of this would have been possible.
"We have asked the government to add a new skin rash to the official NHS list of signs and symptoms of Covid-19 as it will reduce infections and save lives.”
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