Skins signs due to COVID-19

Clinical update from Dr Ivan Bristow on COVID-19 related skin signs.

A UK research team has recently published the results of a survey of COVID-19 related skin signs using patient-reported findings from a phone app.1 Data from 336,847 UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app and a second patient survey was collated to examine skin signs associated with infection. This study is of particular interest as it is taken from patients of all ages in the community, rather than those seriously ill patients in hospital.

The results confirmed that a positive swab result of SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with skin rashes. What is interesting, however, is that in the community setting, 17% of patients testing positive reported a rash at the time of their COVID-19 diagnosis. Moreover, 21% of patients with a positive test reported a rash as their only symptom.

Despite the limitations of the survey, the authors suggest skin rash should be considered a suspicious symptom. Although skin lesions are less common than fever, rashes appear to last longer and are visible to patients. Ultimately, the more signs that can indicate potential infection, the better the detection of the infection within the community.

The research group has compiled a free online resource of images of the most common skin rashes associated with the disease, including chilblains or COVID toes. The website can be accessed here:  https://covidskinsigns.com/


    1. Visconti A, Bataille V, Rossi N, Kluk J, Murphy R, Puig S, et al. Diagnostic value of cutaneous manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Br J Dermatol. Early View Published Jan 2021.

Ivan Bristow PhD

On behalf of the COVID-19 Committee, College of Podiatry