According to the ZOE team, rashes associated with COVID-19 fall into these categories:
- “Prickly heat” or chickenpox-type rash: This is the most commonly reported rash and it appears as small areas of itchy red bumps. It can occur anywhere on the body, usually starting around the elbows or knees as well as the back of the hands and feet. It can sometimes be crusty, weepy or form blisters and does not tend to affect the face.
- Hive-type rash (urticaria): This is the second most commonly reported rash and appears suddenly as raised bumps on the skin which come and go quite quickly over hours. It can involve any part of the body, including the face. This rash is extremely itchy and often starts with intense itching of the palms or soles, and can cause swelling of the lips and eyelids.
“There are other, rarer, rashes associated with COVID-19 including Pityriasis Rosea-like, light-sensitive rashes affecting the face or neck,” explain the ZOE team.
They continued: “Vasculitis rashes, when small blood vessels in the skin become damaged, are also seen in severe cases of COVID-19 that need hospital support.”
It’s not clear exactly what causes rashes in COVID-19, but it may be related to the immune response to the virus.