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“COVID-Toe,” A New And Strange Symptom Of Coronavirus Infection

Dermatologists believe this should be a valid reason for a patient to get coronavirus testing.

Susie Steck

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  • Dermatologists in the United States said that they have been receiving tons of “toes consultation” amid the pandemic.
  • Patients have been suffering from swollen toes with red and purple lesions.
  • Medical professionals are now encouraging Federal Health officials to include the so-called “COVID toe” as one of the symptoms of the dreaded disease.

Several dermatologists have reported that they have been receiving “dozens” of patients suffering from chilblain-like symptoms, including swollen toes with red and purple lesions. In an interview, University of California, San Francisco dermatologist Dr. Lindy Fox explained it was impossible for patients to be diagnosed with chilblains because the skin inflammation only occurs in the “dead of winter”.

Unlike chilblains, this inflammation which they now call “COVID-toe”, strangely appeared in all of the patient’s toes. She cited some instances that the red and purple inflammations have been showing up in some COVID-19 patients.

“All of a sudden, we are inundated with toes. I’ve got clinics filled with people coming in with new toe lesions. And it’s not people who had chilbians before–they’ve never had anything like this,” Dr. Fox said.

Dr. Fox is not the only one who experienced an increase of toe consultations. Dr. Esther Freeman of Massachusetts General Hospital shared that her clinic has also been crowded with patients that it prompted her to add extra clinic hours to accommodate patients suffering from COVID-toes.

In Spain, Belgium, and Italy, hospitals have likewise been receiving complaints from patients suffering painful lesions on their toes, Achilles’ heels, and feet soles. However, it was not confirmed whether the patients had been infected with coronavirus or not, because they were either healthy or testing was limited.

Chilblains, also known as pernio, is the painful inflammation of the skin’s small blood vessels, which happens in reaction to repeated exposure to cold or damp conditions. Such skin inflammation often occurs during the “dead winter” season, Dr. Fox emphasized.

The COVID-toe, the dermatologists said, may be linked to an infection caused by contracting the novel coronavirus. The most obvious symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath but now experts are also telling us that the virus has “diverse effects” like mental confusion and a lack of sense of taste.

So far, there are still no official studies confirming that ‘COVID-toe’ is indeed a symptom of the dreaded disease. Scientists, however, are already starting to learn more about the strange phenomenon, saying COVID-toe may be a sign of a “mild or even asymptomatic infection.”

Experts are now encouraging the public to seek medical consultation once they experience having COVID-toe. They also warn against going to the emergency room, where they may be at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus or exposing other patients if they are infected.

“The good news is that the chilblain-like lesions usually mean you’re going to be fine. Usually it’s a good sign your body has seen Covid and is making a good immune reaction to it,” Dr. Fox told The New York Times, adding that the public should not panic.

Dr. Freeman mentioned that most of their COVID-toe patients are “doing extremely well”.

Now experts are calling on the U.S. government to include COVID toe as a valid grounds for coronavirus testing, whether a patient suffers from the other common symptoms or not.

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