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Four strange COVID symptoms you might not have heard about

Writer : Vassilios Vassiliou, Professor of Cardiac Drugs, College of East Anglia

Properly over two years into the pandemic, tons of of 1000’s of COVID circumstances proceed to be recorded around the globe day by day.

With the rise of latest variants, the signs of COVID have additionally developed. Initially, the NHS regarded a fever, cough, and loss or change in sense of scent or style as the primary signs which may point out COVID an infection. Now, not too long ago up to date NHS steering suggests additionally searching for signs together with a sore throat, blocked or runny nostril, and a headache.

However what about a few of the extra obscure indicators and signs? From pores and skin lesions to listening to loss, rising knowledge is more and more exhibiting us that COVID signs can transcend what you may count on from an everyday chilly or a flu.

Learn extra:
What are the signs of omicron?

1. Pores and skin lesions

COVID-related pores and skin complaints will not be unusual. Actually, a UK examine printed in 2021 discovered that one in 5 sufferers solely exhibited a rash and no different symptom.

COVID can have an effect on the pores and skin in quite a lot of methods. Some individuals might expertise a widespread maculopapular rash (flat or raised areas of discoloured pores and skin), whereas others may current with hives (raised areas of itchy pores and skin).

COVID toes”, in the meantime, describes crimson, swollen or blistering pores and skin lesions on the toes. This symptom is extra generally seen in adolescents or younger adults with delicate or no signs.

Most COVID pores and skin lesions are inclined to go away after just a few days, or in some cases just a few weeks, with out the necessity for any specialised therapy. If the pores and skin may be very itchy or painful although, you may seek the advice of a GP or dermatologist, who might suggest therapy akin to a cream.

COVID toes.
‘COVID toes’ are characterised by crimson, swollen or blistering pores and skin lesions.
Ternavskaia Olga Alibec/Shutterstock

2. COVID nails

Throughout an an infection, together with that of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus which causes COVID-19), our our bodies naturally attempt to specific that they’re beneath an uncommon quantity of stress. They’ll do that in quite a lot of bizarre methods, together with by our nails. “COVID nails” encompasses adjustments akin to:

  • Beau’s strains – horizontal indentations that happen on the base of the fingernails or toenails when there’s a brief interruption in nail development because of a bodily stress on the physique

  • Mees’ strains – horizontal white strains that seem on the nails, regarded as brought on by the irregular manufacturing of proteins within the nail mattress

  • a crimson half-moon sample which develops on the base of the fingernails (the mechanism underlying this alteration is unclear).

The info on how many individuals expertise COVID nails is restricted, however it’s been estimated it may very well be as much as 1-2% of COVID sufferers.

COVID nails have a tendency to seem within the days or even weeks following COVID an infection because the nails develop. Though they is likely to be painful initially, the overwhelming majority are inclined to return to regular over just a few weeks.

Notably, whereas these adjustments could also be indicative of COVID, they can be brought on by various things. For instance, Beau’s strains might be secondary to chemotherapy or one other an infection.

3. Hair loss

Hair loss is probably an understated symptom of COVID-19, often occurring one month or extra after the acute an infection. In a single examine of just about 6,000 individuals who had beforehand had COVID, hair loss was the most typical post-COVID symptom, reported by 48% of individuals. It was particularly prevalent amongst individuals who had extreme COVID and white ladies.

It’s thought that this outcomes from the hair “sensing” the stress within the physique, resulting in extra shedding. Certainly, hair loss can be triggered by different aggravating occasions, akin to childbirth. The excellent news is that with time the hair grows again to regular.

4. Listening to loss and tinnitus

As with different viral infections, such because the flu and measles, COVID has been discovered to have an effect on the cells within the inside ear, with listening to loss or tinnitus (a relentless ringing sensation within the ear) typically following an infection.

In a assessment examine that included 560 individuals, listening to loss occurred in 3.1% of sufferers with COVID, whereas tinnitus occurred in 4.5%.

A man touches his ear, indicating pain.
COVID has been related to listening to loss and tinnitus.

In one examine of 30 individuals who had been identified with COVID, and 30 who hadn’t – none with pre-existing listening to issues – the researchers discovered that COVID was related to injury to the inside ear which led to listening to impairment at larger frequencies. Whereas for the overwhelming majority of sufferers this resolves by itself, circumstances of everlasting listening to loss linked to COVID have been reported.

Why all these signs?

We don’t perceive precisely what causes these signs, however we all know a very powerful half is performed by a course of referred to as irritation. Irritation is our physique’s pure defence mechanism in opposition to pathogens; SARS-CoV-2 on this case. It includes the manufacturing of “cytokines” – proteins that are vital in controlling the exercise of immune cells.

Extreme manufacturing of those proteins, as part of the irritation triggered by COVID an infection, may cause sensory deficits, which probably clarify why some persons are presenting with listening to loss and tinnitus. It might probably additionally disrupt the capillary networks, very tiny blood vessels which offer blood to organs together with the ears, pores and skin and nails.

Learn extra:
4 COVID-related pores and skin complaints everybody ought to look out for

The signs we’ve described right here will not be unique to COVID an infection. That mentioned, in case you discover any of those signs, it will be acceptable to think about a COVID check, particularly in case you’re in an space the place COVID is circulating.

You too can contact your GP, notably if the signs are getting worse or inflicting you vital discomfort. On the similar time, you might be reassured that almost all of those signs are probably to enhance with time.


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