Coronavirus is a novel virus - which means that it is new and scientific knowledge about it is still evolving. Researchers behind the COVID Symptom Study app have now proven that COVID can cause a wide variety of skin signs and symptoms, and have linked various skin rashes to it.
Given that COVID-19 triggers a variety of immune responses, it is not surprising that the skin can be affected.
There are eight main skin conditions linked to COVID, one of which is neck and chest eczema - an inflamed rash that could appear at any time on the top part of the chest and neck. The others are:
- Urticaria (hives) - bumpy, intensely itchy patches that can appear very quickly and can cause swelling.
- Erythemato-papular rash (described as a bumpy rash) or Erythemato-vesicular rash (described as chicken pox-like rash) that can appear anywhere on the body.
- Chilblains or COVID digits - tender dark bumps on the fingers and toes.
- Pityriasis Rosea - generally affecting children, tends to manifest initially with a large patch, followed by several smaller ones on the torso or nearby limbs.
- Viral Exanthem - often exhibits alongside symptoms of a viral illness, this presents as symmetrical rash of blotches or bumps.
- Oral - dry lips and sore mouth.
- Purpuric - small bruise-like patches caused by damage to superficial blood vessels.
The British Association of Dermatologists have recently shared images of these different skin conditions. If you think that you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it is important to contact your GP.
With all of that said, there isn’t any current evidence to suggest that COVID-19 causes eczema or existing skin conditions to flare up. But, we can’t say for sure yet that it doesn’t, until the science catches up.
Life in the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic in general, with frequent handwashing and the need to wear masks, can, however, pose additional challenges to eczema sufferers.
The National Eczema Society offers lots of advice for people with eczema and strategies for helping to mitigate the effects of the new lifestyle changes in a COVID world; particularly managing dry skin and hand eczema that may be caused or worsened by frequent washing with soap.
They offer the following two pieces of advice specifically:
- Re-wash using emollient to help protect the skin after washing hands with soap and water.
- Moisturise the hands after washing with emollients and at other times during the day when the skin feels dry and sore.
Skin Salvation, our signature emollient, is rich, oil-based and made with beeswax to lock in the moisture that dry skin so desperately needs. Its gentle formulation with natural ingredients reduces the risk of skin irritation and itchiness from synthetic additives, and means that it is also suitable for people who may be prone to eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.
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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.