Long COVID is a complex condition that can affect one in ten people who contract COVID-19. Sufferers are reporting a wide range of varying symptoms, including skin conditions such as rashes and chilblains. In this blog we look at the impact of Long COVID on skin.
Long COVID is a new illness that appears to affect a small but growing minority of people. Sufferers are reporting a wide range of symptoms from debilitating fatigue to hair loss, muscle aches and skin conditions.
Although originally thought to be a respiratory illness, COVID-19 is now understood to be a multi system disease. New research from King's College London and the British Association of Dermatologists has shown that skin rashes can be a sign of COVID-19, particularly in children.
They have published a COVID-19 rash gallery that shows eight different conditions that can be brought on by COVID-19. In people who are suffering from Long COVID, these conditions can arise, seemingly out of nowhere, some time after the acute phase of the illness. They include:
- COVID digits - darker coloured bumps or chilblains that appear on the fingers and toes. These are one of the more obvious features of COVID-19 and can be most commonly seen in younger people. COVID digits tend to manifest a long time after the initial infection. Multiple digits can be affected and they are usually sore, rather than itchy.
- Neck and exposed chest eczema - this itchy rash can appear on the neck and anterior chest. Skin may appear as flushed or inflamed. It can happen at any time during or post the initial infection.
- Oral - dry lips are very common in sufferers of Long COVID, as is soreness within the mouth. Angular cheilitis might appear as a sign the immune system is in overdrive.
- Papular and Vesicular - this is an itchy rash that consists of darker, bumpy areas that can appear anywhere on the body, including the back of the hands and feet, elbows and trunk.
- Pityriasis Rosea - thought to be viral in origin, pityriasis rosea usually affects youngsters. There have been reports of an initial large “herald” patch, followed a few days later by several smaller patches on the torso or proximal limbs. It can last several months.
- Purpuric - caused by damage to superficial blood vessels, purpuric presents as tiny bruise-like patches on the skin.
- Urticarial - appearing and disappearing quite quickly, these rashes are usually raised, intensely itchy patches that can appear on any part of the body and can cause swelling of the lips and eyelids. Antihistamines are usually the best way to treat urticarial rashes. However, if the patient has lip swelling it is important to seek medical attention.
- Viral Exanthem - a symmetrical rash comprising inflamed blotches or bumps over the body and is usually accompanied by other symptoms of a viral illness, such as fever, cough and malaise.
If you suspect that you have a skin condition from this list, then contact your GP to discuss a management plan. There are various forums for support for Long COVID online and you can find plenty of information on skin conditions in general in our Info Hub.
It’s a good idea to treat any skin issues arising from Long COVID with non-irritant, skin-nourishing products; find oils and extracts made from naturally anti-inflammatory herbs and plants in our range of skincare specially formulated for sensitive skin. We don’t add any perfumes, petrochemicals, parabens or sulphates, so they are suitable for people suffering from very dry or irritated skin.
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Intensive Hand Cream
with shea butter and sea buckthorn oil
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.