The Disturbing New Symptom of Long COVID Doctors Want You to Know

One patient says this symptom appeared 10 months after she had COVID.

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There are numerous symptoms that can arise from a COVID infection, and many of these symptoms can linger. Some people—suffering from what's come to be known as "long COVID"—find themselves facing enduring symptoms and new complications months after their illness. The more time passes, the more patients report stranger signs of a past coronavirus infection. Most recently, some long COVID patients are reporting a disturbing new symptom: peeling hands. Read on for more on this strange complication, and for more signs of the virus, If You Have This Subtle Symptom, You Might Have Already Had COVID.

Amy Siniscalchi, one of the more than 100 patients being treated as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Program at Westchester Medical Center in New York, told ABC 7 that her hands have started to shed after having the coronavirus 10 months earlier.

"My hands would peel. I would wake up one day and my hands would feel like sandpaper, and they would peel in their entirety," she said. Her fingernails will also turn purple every so often. Siniscalchi says her doctor refers to this as "COVID hands."

Doctors and scientists working with the COVID Symptom Study from Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, King's College London, and Stanford University School of Medicine say peeling hands could be the result of various skin rashes related to COVID.

According to a blog post from the COVID Symptom Study experts, urticaria rashes (otherwise known as hives) can present early on during a COVID infection but also can arise later on when a patient is no longer contagious. Urticaria can "start with intense itching of the palms," which may result in peeling. However, it could also be a COVID rash known as chilblains, which was "relatively rare before COVID" but is presenting as reddish and purple bumps on the fingers or toes of COVID patients.

"When the [chilblains] rash recovers, the top layers of the skin may peel where the purplish bumps were," they explained.

A September study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, found that survivors of the coronavirus can experience skin reactions long after having first contracted the virus. Esther Freeman, MD, principal investigator of the COVID-19 Dermatology Registry, told WebMD that these skin changes are most likely signs of inflammation and may be an ongoing immune response to the virus.

"Some patients are having long-lasting inflammation that's being in some way triggered by the virus," she said. "We don't yet understand really exactly why or how this is happening, but the skin is particularly interesting and important, because it can be a window into what's going on with the rest of the body. Since it's very visual, you can actually, literally see the inflammation that's happening."

Of course, this is not the only symptom long-haulers are reporting. A recent study from King's College London, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, identified some specific symptoms that were more commonly reported in long-term coronavirus infections. Read on for a look at these long COVID symptoms, and for more coronavirus news, If This Part of Your Body Hurts, You Could Have COVID.

1
Cardiac symptoms

Young man holding his chest in pain
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Short-term COVID patients who experienced this: .5 percent

Long-term COVID patients who experienced this: 6.1 percent

And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

2
Concentration of memory issues

Woman with COVID headahce
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Short-term COVID patients who experienced this: .2 percent

Long-term COVID patients who experienced this: 4.1 percent

And for more on coronavirus complications, The CDC Just Confirmed This Disorder Could Put You at Risk of Severe COVID.

3
Tinnitus and earache

A middle-aged man wearing a face mask holds his head in pain, perhaps with symptoms of COVID-19.
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Short-term COVID patients who experienced this: .2 percent

Long-term COVID patients who experienced this: 3.6 percent

And for more symptoms you need to know, These Are The Most Common Early Signs You Have COVID, Study Finds.

4
Peripheral neuropathy symptoms

Young man sits on bed and shows his foot on camera. He holds leg with both hands. Guy is in bedroom. Cut view (Young man sits on bed and shows his foot on camera. He holds leg with both hands. Guy is in bedroom. Cut view, ASCII, 110 components, 110 by
iStock

Short-term COVID patients who experienced this: .5 percent

Long-term COVID patients who experienced this: 2 percent

And for people worried about getting sick, If This Is Your Only Symptom, You Might Be Safe From COVID.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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