Lessons from Italy: Understanding and Recognizing Potential Skin Manifestations in COVID-10 image

Italian dermatologists report that about 20 percent of COVID-19 patients may develop skin manifestations including red rashes.

Their findings appear in Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology Venereology.

The researchers looked at skin in 148 COVID-19 patients at the Lecco Hospital in Lombardy, Italy. They excluded from the report 60 patients who had started new drugs within 15 days in order to rule out acute drug reactions.  Of the 88 remaining COVID-19 patients, 20.5 percent developed skin manifestations including 44 percent who had skin eruptions at symptom onset. Moreover, 78 percent had red rashes and three had widespread urticaria, typically on the trunk.  They note that skin manifestations did not correlate with disease severity.

More studies are needed to better understand how the skin is involved in COVID-19, they note.“We may speculate that skin manifestations are similar to cutaneous involvement occurring during common viral infections.”

New York City dermatologist and Practical Dermatology® board member Bobby Buka, MD, JD previously suggested dermatologists be attentive to possible viral exanthem associated with COVID-19. Read his remarks here.