Early in the pandemic we learned that COVID-19 can have dermatological manifestations on the skin, including bizarre skin rashes and lesions and well as COVID-toes. However, according to new research, symptoms of the highly infectious and potentially virus can actually be found inside of the mouth as well.
Rashes in the Mucous Membranes
A new Spanish research letter published July 15 in JAMA Dermatology claims that some coronavirus patients are experiencing rashes on their mucous membranes on the interior of their mouths.
Lead researchers Dr. Juan Jimenez-Cauhe, of University Hospital Ramon y Cajal in Madrid, and his team examined 21 coronavirus patients who were diagnosed in early April with COVID-19 and associated skin rashes. Of them, six patients aged 40 to 69, (29%) had enanthem (oral cavity lesions) on the inside of their mouths.
“An enanthem is a rash [small spots] on the mucous membranes,” Dr. Michele Green, who practices at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, explained to HealthDay. “It is very common in patients with viral infections like chickenpox and hand, foot and mouth disease. It is characteristic of many viral rashes to affect mucous membranes.”
The rashes appeared over a wide range of time — anywhere between two days prior to symptoms to 24 days after — with an average of 12 days into the onset of symptoms.
Researchers also noted that the enathem didn’t seem to be the side effect of any medications, but instead the illness appeared to be directly causing them.
How common is this symptom of COVID-19? Researchers point out that it is difficult to determine. They write that “owing to safety concerns, many patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 do not have their oral cavity examined.”
“Skin is a Window”
In case you are curious why coronavirus can lead to skin rashes, Caroline Nelson, MD, a Yale Medicine dermatologist, previously explained to Eat This, Not That! Health, “skin is often a window into a person’s health and may show signs of COVID-19 infection” in a variety of different manifestations. These can include small blisters, morbilliform (“measles-like”) exanthems (many, often symmetric, pink-to-red bumps that can merge together), and hives (itchy red wheels on the skin). Purple skin lesions reported in patients with COVID-19 range from itchy to painful bumps on the hands and feet (“COVID toes”) to angulated areas of skin injury from lack of blood flow.
“It is important to note that these skin signs are non-specific, meaning that they can be associated with other infections, systemic disorders, and medication reactions. It is important to seek medical advice from your physician,” she explained.
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