6 COVID Symptoms That Are Right in Front of You

These coronavirus skin symptoms could be hiding in plain sight.

There are a number of well-reported symptoms of a coronavirus infection—from persistent headaches and a sore throat to a cough that just won't go away. However, there are also plenty of warning signs of COVID-19 that could go unaddressed, despite some of them being right there on your own skin. Read on to discover which coronavirus skin symptoms could be flying under your radar. And if you're wondering about other signs of infection, check out If You Have a Rash in This Spot, You May Have COVID, Study Suggests.

A measles-like rash

Female patient showing a doctor her arm rash

Small clusters of raised pinkish or reddish spots that appear on your skin could be a sign you've been infected with coronavirus. A June 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) reveals that among a group of 171 individuals with lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19, a measles-like rash was the most common dermatological ailment, with 22 percent of study subjects reporting the symptom.

Bumps on your toes

Feet with COVID sores

If you've noticed new bumps or lesions on your toes, or they've shown noticeable change in color, it's worth getting checked out by a doctor. In the aforementioned JAAD study, 18 percent of patients developed red or purple, "pernio-like" lesions on their feet—a condition colloquially known as "COVID toes."

According to another study, published in May 2020, of 505 patients with skin symptoms caused by coronavirus, 318 reported having these lesions. What's more, among those individuals, 55 percent said this was their only symptom of infection. Despite their prevalence, however, the study's authors noted that these symptoms were most frequently seen in mild cases of COVID. And for more on how COVID manifests itself when you become infected, Here's How Coronavirus Affects Your Body, From Your Head to Toes.

Skin discoloration

doctor applying cream to white woman's elbow

Thirteen percent of patients in the JAAD study had macular erythema, a rash that frequently presents as a collection of flat, discolored patches on the skin. These can appear red in color in some people, particularly those with lighter skin. And for more up-to-date information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


blistering vesicular rash on neck
Shutterstock/Karan Bunjean

That blistering rash might be more than just an indication you've had contact with patch of poison ivy. In fact, 11 percent of coronavirus patients in the JAAD study experienced a vesicular rash, which frequently presents with fluid-filled bumps on the skin.

A scaly rash with raised bumps

black man itches arm

If your skin has a combination of small, raised bumps and flat scales, it might be worth getting a coronavirus test. Nearly percent of patients in the JAAD study had a papulosquamous rash, a combination of the two types of skin lesions.

A web-like rash

Doctor bandaging up a wounded foot

Retiform purpura—a type of skin condition that occurs when blood vessels are weakened, causing a loss of blood flow to the skin, discoloration, or tissue death—was present in 6.4 percent of patients in the JAAD study. However, the study's authors noted that this condition, which was found only on the extremities and buttocks of patients, was seen exclusively in patients deemed critically ill; 100 percent of patients with retiform purpura were hospitalized and 82 percent experienced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). And for more surprising signs of COVID-19, check out The 7 Strangest Coronavirus Symptoms You Need to Know About.

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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