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A new side effect believed to be part of the body's response to fighting Covid 19 has been identified by a study in the British Journal of Dermatology.

The unattractive symptom is a chilblain-like rash and a purple or redness on hands and feet that typically develops one to four weeks after infection with Coronavirus.

The nasty rash can last for months and can be extremely itchy for some while completely painless for others.

The study's lead author, Dr Charles Cassius, said the research will provide a deeper understanding of the condition and it is hoped that the new information will help tackle the symptoms of so-called 'Covid toe'.

"The epidemiology and clinical features of chilblain-like lesions have been extensively studied and published, orange allis chalmers however, little is known about the pathophysiology involved," he said. "Our study provides new insights."

It is believed Covid toe was flagged as a unrecognised symptom in the early days of the virus, although it is thought that often sufferers of Covid toe may not have many of the usual symptoms associated with the disease like a change to smell or taste, or a new and consistent cough.

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The European Journal of Pediatric Dermatology reported in May 2020 a sharp rise in cases amongst young people in Italy writing, "We observed an ‘epidemic’ of acute and self-healing vasculitic lesions of the hands and feet in asymptomatic children and adolescents.

"These lesions constituted a novelty that led us to establish a link with the other much more severe novelty, ie Covid-19, which also occurred almost simultaneously."

It is believed that the condition is caused by part of the body's efforts to fight Covid known as 1 Interferon, which mistakenly attacks cells in the body not just the virus.

Dr Veronique Bataille, a consultant and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation said that the rash has been less common in cases where people have contracted the newer Delta Variant, and was seen for more in the early stages of the pandemic.

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UK podiatrist Dr Ivan Bristow said that, like chilblains, the condition was likely to clear up for many people on its own, although others may need specific drugs or cream to help get rid of it.

"The confirmation of the cause will help to develop new treatments to manage it more effectively," he said.

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  • Science
  • Coronavirus

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