Unusual skin rashes could be new symptom of coronavirus, expert warns
Professor Tim Spector said that between one in 10 and one in five people reporting symptoms on the app were mentioning newly-occurring and unexplained rashes.
He called on doctors to “be suspicious” of the potential symptom.
The app was also the first to highlight the loss of taste and smell as symptoms of coronavirus and these were eventually added to the UK main list last month.
Professor Spector, of King’s College London, said there was the possibility that a rash might be the only symptom displayed by children who had contracted Covid-19.
He told the Standard: “It’s looking like it is predictive of having a positive [coronavirus] test and GPs are unaware of it, so they are sending people away, or NHS 111 is not recognising it as a possible symptom.
“It’s usually in combination [with other symptoms] but it can come on at different times — sometimes after the other symptoms. It can come two weeks after the other symptoms, or two weeks before. It’s just being missed because the public is unaware of it and doctors are unaware of it.”
Professor Spector said the presence of rashes was “anecdotally well known”, and had been highlighted in early cases from China and Europe, but there had not been any published studies so far. His team is writing up the findings from the app.
“It is displaying in very unusual ways that dermatologists haven’t seen before,” he said. “The key is that this can present like an allergic rash or like a drug rash or a chilblains rash.
“It doesn’t look like any of the other types of rash — it doesn’t look like eczema or anything else that people have seen.
“It is an unusual rash in people who don’t normally get rashes. That is the key thing. It can just last for a day and disappear, so people have got to be quite vigilant. Other people get it for a long time.”