Skin rashes may be associated with a positive Covid-19 test result among adults, according to a study that could help identify cases missed when relying only on the core symptoms. Previous studies conducted in hospitals reported that COVID-19 patients showed unusual skin rashes, researchers said.

The latest study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, analysed information provided by 336,847 individuals who used an app designed to register COVID-19 symptoms. The researcher also used data from an independent online survey of 11,544 respondents to investigate skin specific symptoms and collect their photographs.

In collaboration with the British Association of Dermatologists, they compiled a catalogue of images of the most common skin manifestations of COVID-19 from 400 individuals. The researchers found that skin rashes were more common in adults with a positive COVID-19 test result than in those who tested negative.

Among the respondents of the online survey, 17 per cent of SARS-CoV-2-positive cases reported skin rashes as the first presentation, and 21 per cent as the only COVID-19 clinical sign. “Cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 are sometimes the first or even the only sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” said senior study author Mario Falchi, from King’s College London in the UK.

“Recognition of such early signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may enable identification of cases missed when relying only on the core symptoms, allowing preventive measures to be put in place to minimise further spreading of the infection,” Falchi said. The researchers concluded that skin rashes occur in a significant number of cases, either alone or before other classical symptoms.

Recognising rashes is important in identifying new and earlier cases of COVID-19, they added.

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