Coronavirus symptoms update: Vesicular lesions, hives, rash and livedo signs to spot

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When one thinks of a COVID-19 infection, unusual skin symptoms don’t often come to mind. However, a growing number of reports have warned of skin symptoms being a possible major indicator for a COVID-19 infection. In fact, there are five to look out for.

Vesicular lesions

According to a Spain study, they appear to present in patients with the mild disease around 14 days after infection.

Researchers found that only 9 per cent of patients had these vesicles, but experts suggest it is a more specific indication of having COVID-19 than those already listed, potentially more useful.


In a study involving four hospitals in China and Italy, 26 per cent of COVID-19 patients complained of skin changes presented with hives.

Hives can be of different sizes and shapes and appear anywhere on the body in adults and children.

The rash is often itchy and sometimes feels like it’s stinging or burning.


Chilblain-like lesions are a recognised sequela of COVID-19 found to affect younger (mean age 32.5 years in published cases) and often otherwise asymptomatic patients.

Chilblains normally occur as a reaction to cold, wet weather, whereas chilblain-like lesions are attributed to inflammatory or embolic microvascular occlusion. The presence of these lesions should prompt testing for COVID-19.

According to the BMJ, one patient’s symptoms started two days before COVID-19 had been diagnosed in her partner. She did not fulfil the criteria for COVID-19 testing at the time of presentation. She was otherwise well with no other symptoms.

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Researchers discovered that 8.8 percent of people reporting a positive coronavirus swab test had experienced a skin rash as part of their symptoms, compared with 5.4 percent of people with a negative test result.

Similar results were seen in a further 8.2 percent of users with a rash who did not have a coronavirus test, but still reported classic COVID-19 symptoms.

Hive-type rash (urticaria) which is a sudden appearance of raised bumps on the skin which come and go quite quickly over hours and are usually very itchy.

It can involve any part of the body, and often starts with intense itching of the palms or soles and can cause swelling of the lips and eyelids.

The rash can persist for days or weeks.


Livedo describes a reticulate pattern of slow blood flow, with consequent desaturation of blood and bluish cutaneous discolouration, said a study published in Dermatology.

It added: “It has been divided into reticularis, which develops as tight, symmetrical, lace-like, dusky patches forming complete rings surrounding a pale centre.”

In a French study on vascular lesions associated with COVID-19, livedo was observed in 1 out of 7 patients.

A high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms, according to the NHS.

In the UK, you should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.

Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.

It’s imperative that if suffering with any of the above symptoms to carefully monitor yourself and take the appropriate measures.

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