‘COVID toes’ puzzle doctors and scientists as mysterious coronavirus symptom manifests mostly in kids

COVID toes

They’re called “COVID toes,” and they look like frostbite. But the mysterious red or purple mottling that appears on toes as well as occasionally fingers is puzzling doctors and researchers alike, as an apparent sign of coronavirus infection in otherwise asymptomatic children and young adults.
“They’re typically painful to touch and could have a hot burning sensation,” Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, told USA Today. “This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress. Sometimes this might be your first clue that they have COVID when they don’t have any other symptoms.”
In some people that’s the only symptom they ever develop, Lautenbach said. Others develop the other typical respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 – dry cough, fever, shortness of breath.
People with this symptom alone may not even test positive for coronavirus, as it is often in its early stages at that point, Lautenbach told USA Today. But the condition, whose clinical name is perniosis, usually appears as a response to cold, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A loss of taste and smell showed a similar pattern, experts said, with that being the only symptom that some people ever exhibited, while others went on to develop full-blown COVID-19.
The virus, thought to have originated in bats, wreaks havoc in all sorts of ways, as “Today” reported. Pink eye, coughing up blood, and full-body tingling are others, “Today” said.
COVID toes were first noticed in March by Italian doctors, ABC News reported, along with other dermatologic symptoms, including rashes. But now they’re becoming more ubiquitous, Amy Paller, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told Yahoo Life.
“We’re having a little bit of a mini epidemic in the pediatric dermatology world with these ‘COVID toes and fingers’ – particularly in those in the second decade of life,” Paller told Yahoo Life. “We’re hearing about all of these cases just popping into practices across the country ... Every day I’m talking to another one of my colleagues who’s seeing a patient.”
The condition usually resolves on its own.

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