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Statement on skin-related symptoms in COVID - 19

Statement on skin-related symptoms in COVID - 19

Revised update on reports of skin-related symptoms in COVID - 19

News reports continue to highlight some of the suspected skin-related symptoms associated with COVID-19 infections.  As a new infection, healthcare professionals are still learning more about the effects of the disease but further reports from dermatologists and journals are noticing that the skin can be affected with various rashes across the body and limbs. These include chickenpox like spots, red itchy areas (similar to chilblains) and urticaria (wheals). Many viral infections are known to produce skin changes, and, whilst there has been an increase in some evidence suggesting a link between certain acral skin lesions and COVID-19, we still do not have any conclusive evidence that all those being observed at the moment are associated COVID-19 infection.  As more data is collected from around the world, this may give a clearer picture as it develops.  

The British Association of Dermatologists is currently recommending the following: “Members of the public should be very cautious about trying to self-diagnose COVID-19 based on skin symptoms; rashes and other skin lesions are common and hard to differentiate between without expertise”. 

The College of Podiatry continues to recommend the following guidance at present.  

1. As with all patient assessment and treatment during this period please follow the current College of Podiatry advice regarding clinical practice and use of PPE.

2. The likelihood of seeing these lesions at the present time in community and independent clinics is very small given the current reduced caseload.

3. If a patient presents with skin-related acral lesions but has no recognised COVID-19 symptoms (as indicated here) the current guidance is that self-solation is not recommended.  Therefore, whilst there have been suggestions of a link between the skin-related acral lesions and COVID 19, they are not proven and there is no current recommendation that patients should self-isolate on the basis of the presence of skin lesions alone. 

Clinicians should use their clinical judgement and decision making on advising the patient. However, if others in the same household are symptomatic, then as per national guidance the patient should self-isolate accordingly.  The College is continuing to collect evidence and data from various sources relating to this and other topics and will update this advice when required. 

4.If a patient has other symptoms consistent with Covid-19 which were not disclosed in your triage as per the decision tree they should be advised to contact 111

The College of Podiatry has taken the following steps in order to ensure that members are provided with the most appropriate advice and guidance:

The College of Podiatry is seeking further guidance and recommendations from the British Association of Dermatologists, following its press release of 30th April (see link above)

The College of Podiatry has established a COVID-19 Working Group to liaise with the British Association of Dermatologists, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and other relevant authorities 

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