Have you had a rash which could be a symptom of Covid-19?

Some people with coronavirus have reported getting a rash. 

Some people with coronavirus have reported getting a rash. - Credit: Archant

Covid-19 symptoms we have all come to recognise include a sore throat, a high temperature and loss of taste and smell.  

But did you know that some people have been affected by rashes on their skin – and in some cases have shown no other symptoms. 

Professor Nick Levell consultant dermatologist for dermatology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and member of the British Association of Dermatologists said there have been "many reports" of rashes appearing on their bodies when infected with the virus. 

But with little research into how Covid affects our skin and immune system, the science on why, where and how to treat it is not yet clear. 

Prof Levell said: “Omicron is the newest variant and as such, there has yet to be research into rashes caused by this specific infection.   

“The research done using the Zoe app has been very valuable in identifying rashes due to Covid and with time we hope that this will probably tell us more. 

“Whilst skin symptoms have been shown to be a common and important symptom of Covid-19, it is important to remember that around 50pc of the population has a skin problem every year, so a rash is not necessarily a sign of Covid.  

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“With the sheer number of people being infected with Covid, the reality is that some people will have skin issues which are unrelated to the virus.” 

Professor Nick Levell consultant dermatologist for dermatology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Professor Nick Levell consultant dermatologist for dermatology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and member of the British Association of Dermatologists. - Credit: British Association of Dermatologists

Here Prof Levell answers some of the most asked questions about rashes linked to coronavirus. 

What types of rashes have been linked to Covid? 

“Since the start of the pandemic there have been various reports of skin symptoms, including chilblain-like lesions, dubbed Covid-toe, hives-like rashes, blistering eruptions, and even more severe issues such as skin tissue death, known as necrosis.  

"Some people have also reported skin sensitivity to UV light."

Where on the body are they most commonly appearing? 

“One of the most common reports seems to be of Covid-toe, referring to chilblain-like lesions on the toes.  

“That said, Covid rashes have been reported on various places on the body so they could appear anywhere, including the face, feet, and hands.” 

What causes these rashes to develop? 

“The cause of these rashes is not yet fully understood but it is thought it could be due to direct infection of skin tissues or the impact Covid has on the body’s immune system.” 

Can people still test negative despite having a rash believed to be related to Covid-19? 

“Whilst it is possible, it is unlikely. The tests for Covid infection are quite good at picking up infections.  

“Skin rashes and other skin problems are very common and when this happens it is more likely to be a problem unrelated to Covid infection.” 

Can anything be done to treat them or will they go away naturally? 

“There are often treatments that can help to relieve some of the symptoms, but most rashes linked with Covid seem to go away eventually.  

“In those people with longer term skin problems after Covid infections, there is a need for research to understand this better.” 

Archant reporter Emily Thomson believes she was affected by a rash linked to Covid-19

Covid lateral flow test

Emily has continually tested negative for coronavirus. - Credit: Archant

"One morning after getting out of the shower I noticed a strange rash over my thighs, tops of my feet, ankles, tops of my hands and elbows. 

"At first, I thought it was an allergic reaction but I could not put my finger on what it could be - so I found myself on Google. 

"Hives, chickenpox and psoriasis were all options which came up but, to be sure, I called 111. 

"They were stumped by my symptoms; ruling out other possible conditions and advised me to go to the walk-in clinic. 

"At the clinic the nurse also couldn't tell me exactly what it could be but said it could be a reaction to Omicron or hives. 

"After asking how that could be as I had been testing negative, she said it is still possible that I have been exposed to the virus.  

"Since then, the very strong antihistamines which I have being taking have done nothing to alleviate the rash and after looking into Covid-19 skin patterns I am certain that is what it is."

For more information visit the British Association of Dermatologist’s website on Covid skin patterns.