Picture: Dr Amy Paller / Northwestern University via AP

‘Covid toes’ and hair loss reported from long-haulers

CAPE TOWN- The average recovery time for people diagnosed with Covid-19 is around 10-14 days, however, some Covid-19 long-haulers have reported persisting symptoms ranging from “Covid toes” to rashes and hair loss. 

Finding from a new study presented during the annual European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology conference last week found that some Covid-19 patients experienced skin symptoms for more than 60 days after infection, but can persist for up to 150 days in some.

According to Dr. Esther Freeman, principal investigator of the Covid-19 Dermatology Registry, ‘Covid toes’ and skin rashes are signs of inflammation and the body’s immune system response to the virus.

“Some patients are having long-lasting inflammation that’s being in some way triggered by the virus. We don’t yet understand really exactly why or how this is happening, but the skin is particularly interesting and important, because it can be a window into what’s going on with the rest of the body. Since it’s very visual, you can actually, literally see the inflammation that’s happening,” she said.

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Data from close to a thousand Covid-19 cases from 39 different countries around the would was collected in collaboration between the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers from the study reported that redness and swelling of the feet and hands, also known as Covid toes, lasted a median of 15 days in patients with suspected coronavirus infection and 10 days in lab-confirmed cases. The red-purple discoloured skin can be painful and itchy, and there are sometimes small blisters.

Hair loss has also been reported in some Covid-19 severe cases. This is the body shutting down unnecessary activity in times of stress. Provided people’s iron levels are normal, the hair will recover in time.

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