There are people in whom the symptoms caused by the new coronavirus infection last for a long time, even months. Manifestations such as fatigue, exhaustion, hair loss, reduced cardiorespiratory capacity, and cognitive manifestations (such as memory loss, confusion, difficulty concentrating, dizziness) become long-lasting and continuous in those who experience “prolonged covid.” These effects can occur even in people who had the disease mild or asymptomatic. The persistent skin problems They are also part of these persistent symptoms, according to a report that will be presented today at the 29th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), which is being carried out virtually.
Analysis of the largest registry of Covid-19 patients with dermatological symptoms revealed a subset of patients, called long haulers (long carriers), who experience prolonged symptoms, which persist for more than 60 days on the skin.
Data from 990 cases from 39 countries entered into the registry, a collaboration between the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology, show an average duration of 12 days for all dermatological symptoms, with some lasting up to more than 150.
The patients presented a wide spectrum of dermatological manifestations lasting for different periods of time, including hives (urticaria), which lasted a median of 5 days; Y pernio (sabañones), also defined as “covid toes”, which lasted 15 days, but sometimes up to 130-150 days; and rashes papuloescamosas, which are scaly papules and plaques, which persist for 20 days.
Identifying this unique subset of “Covid toes” patients with symptoms that last long after the acute phase of infection may have implications for understanding the prolonged inflammatory response that occurs in some patients.
Skin symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition caused by the coronavirus. Some symptoms, such as retiform purple, are associated with severe Covid-19, since 100% of these patients were hospitalized; while chilblains tend to manifest in relatively mild cases, with only 16% hospitalized. Furthermore, although they often appear 1 to 4 weeks after initial infection, it was found that 15% were still PCR positive for Covid-19.
“Our registry identified a previously unreported subset of patients with long-standing skin symptoms by Covid-19. We highlight patients with chilblains, also known as Covid toes, who had symptoms for up to 150 days. This data adds to our knowledge of how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection. The skin can provide a visual window to inflammation that may be occurring in other parts of the body, “said Dr. Esther Freeman, principal investigator for the International Covid-19 Dermatology Registry and director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The dermatological symptoms of novel coronavirus infection and its impact are only just beginning to be understood and studied.
A survey of 490 dermatologists revealed that the 35% saw patients with skin signs of Covid-19 and that 4% of dermatologists tested positive. The researchers believe these findings underscore the need for further research on the dermatological symptoms of coronavirus and the interaction between underlying skin conditions. And they also highlight the importance of using protective equipment, such as masks, during dermatological consultations.