Doctors have identified a possible new symptom of coronavirus which sees purple or blue lesions appear on the feet of otherwise asymptomatic patients.
It is mysterious skin condition that causes purple, blue or red discoloration in toes and occasionally fingers which may be the first symptom of COVID-19.
The symptom, which has been dubbed ‘COVID toe’, was discovered in March by Italian doctors and is now being more recognised in cases across the United States, USA Today reported.
Dr Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, says the lesions appear in toes and occasionally fingers and seem to be a sign someone has the virus.
They are painful to touch and could have a hot burning sensation and experts suggest that they are somewhat linked to the COVID-19 outbreak. Feet can also be occasionally become itchy, painful or may show no other symptoms besides discoloration.
It is particularly interesting because they appear before any other signs of coronavirus and patients sometimes test negative because the virus is in such early stages.
This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress.
The symptom is also believed to be more common in children and young adults which could be because those age groups have better immune systems, USA Today reported.
Dr Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, mentions that there are two possible causes for them; there may be an inflammatory response more localised to COVID-19 patients’ feet, or it could be the clotting of blood vessels.
COVID toes will take between a week and 10 days to disappear and some patients go on to experience the harsher symptoms of COVID-19 including shortness of breath and fevers.