Dermatological diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, cause a distinctive rash that helps medical providers diagnose a patient. COVID-19 is different because there is no single COVID-19 rash, and it’s also an inconsistent symptom – it does not occur in every case of the infection.
When a patient with COVID-19 does develop a rash, it can look like:
- Patchy rash
- Itchy bumps
- Blisters that look like chickenpox
- Round, pinpoint spots on the skin
- Large patch with several smaller ones
- A lace-like pattern on the skin
- Flat spots and raised bumps that join together
Reports suggest that a rash typically lasts between 2 and 12 days, with most people having a rash for 8 days. They can appear on the chest, trunk, or legs. It is unclear if lesions in patients with COVID-19 are related with the virus.
Studies suggest that skin eruptions occurring in patients with COVID-19 could systemic consequences (coagulation complications) or prescribed drugs for other symptoms of COVID-19. Contact a medical provider if rashes cause the skin to break open, swell, or progress to a dark red or purple color. These could be signs of local infection or coagulation that needs immediate treatment.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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April 8, 2023