Doctors report 'COVID toes,' discolored skin on some coronavirus patients

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Saturday, April 25, 2020
'COVID toes' may be new symptom of virus
Doctors say there may be a new symptom of coronavirus they are calling "Covid Toes."

As doctors around the world continue to battle COVID-19, researchers are noticing that the disease appears to attack the entire body, including the toes.

A growing number of dermatologists treating suspected and confirmed coronavirus-positive patients are reporting patterns and trends of skin conditions.

This includes what's dubbed as "COVID toes," or frostbite-like areas of typically red or purple discoloration on the feet and sometimes the fingers, according to Dr. Misha Rosenbach, associate professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

"What we are seeing tends to be in response to the cold, but we're seeing it in the middle of spring," Dr. Amy Paller, chair of dermatology at Northwestern University told ABC News. "And it's happening in such numbers as is COVID that we have to think there's a connection."

"COVID toes" are more commonly reported in younger people and children, who also are more likely to show mild symptoms or be asymptomatic when infected. Dermatologists believe testing patients with frostbite-like skin lesions is crucial in linking it to the disease.

Symptoms more commonly associated with coronavirus include fevers, upper respiratory problems like coughing, and fatigue, but the coronavirus has the potential to attack the entire body, said ABC News Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

"Literally head to toe. Brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestinal tract, skin, we are seeing head to toe manifestations, and so far, this virus really looking like a bad actor," she said on "Good Morning America" Thursday.

Doctors have also reported a range of neurological symptoms, including headache, seizure, dizziness, loss of smell and taste and stroke.

"[New findings portray] some of these critically ill COVID patients as being incredibly sick and challenging to take care of. They are showing features that are perplexing and atypical in viral illness," she said.

The coronavirus is new, and researchers continue to learn more about the virus every day. All research is preliminary, and guidelines from health officials are subject to change.

ABC News contributed to this story. Click here to read the full ABC News report.