COVID-19 has spread to nearly 200 countries in the world with a death toll approaching the 100,000 mark. It is a highly contagious disease that spreads through inhalation or touch. In Wuhan, China where the pandemic first started, studies have been going on to understand the coronavirus impact on the skin.
88 Covid-19 patients in the Alessandro Manzoni Hospital in Lecco, Northern Italy were observed for skin manifestations. 8 of such patients displayed various skin issues such as skin eruptions that manifested after the appearance of Covid-19 symptoms. 14 patients had red rashes on their skin and one even had chickenpox like vesicles. According to the dermatologist at the hospital, such instances are normal for patients suffering from various viral infections including even the common flu.
While these may not indicate any specific COVID-19 relation with the skin diseases as such, but, things like red rashes might be an indicator of a viral infection. Patients experiencing recent dermatology problems should stay separate from other patients and maintain social distancing protocols. They should be screened for the coronavirus and if their test reports are negative then they can be treated by a dermatologist. Further, it doesn’t in any way imply that help is not available instantly for the dermatology patients. They can contact a skin specialist online and receive advice or medication through the telemedicine route. These are difficult times for all and we have to collectively ensure that the viral pandemic is not spread further.
Unless a patient is allergic to certain things or his/her skin condition warrants specific precautions, we all should focus on maintaining the universal WHO guidelines of handwashing.
While fighting this unknown and unseen viral enemy, precaution is our best defence.
Dr. Aseem Sharma is a doctor possessing over 10 years of experience of working in a hospital setting, within and outside the Indian Air Force. In his current position as an Asst Professor with Lokmanya Tilak General Hospital and Sion Hospital, Mumbai, he sees numerous patients each day, assesses symptoms, provides a diagnosis and therapeutic options, both medical and surgical and procedural, based on his conclusions. He is an astute observer with good diagnostic skills.