Foot sores can potentially be a peculiar new symptom of coronavirus (COVD-19) infection, according to the Spanish General Council of Official Podiatrist Colleges. The council has issued a circular to healthcare workers warning them to look out for foot sores similar to chickenpox or measles, especially among young adults.
“They are purple lesions (very similar to those of chickenpox, measles or chilblains) which usually appear on the toes and normally heal without leaving a mark,” the council said in an official statement.
Symptoms first observed in Italy, France and Spain
According to the council’s report, the strange symptom was first observed among mostly young COVID-19 patients in Italy, France and Spain. The report noted an increased detection of the lesions in COVID-19 sufferers, “especially in children and adolescents,” though they’ve also been observed in adults.
The International Federation of Podologists has also released its own report on the supposed symptoms. The case study focuses on a 13-year-old Italian boy who had complained of foot sores.
Initially, it was assumed that he was suffering from a violin spider bite. The boy then went to the hospital on March 8 after developing cuts to his skin that erupted before crusting over. Two days after the visit, he developed a fever, muscle pains, headache and intense itching and burning on the foot lesions.
Because of the health crisis that had hit Italy, the boy was not initially tested for the coronavirus. It was only later on that doctors found that his coronavirus-stricken mother and sister had cough, fever and trouble breathing six days before the sores on his feet appeared.
The case came to light on March 29, since then there have been several similar reports have surfaced. Sources report that one in five patients in Italian hospitals is demonstrating these strange foot sores. Child dermatologist Dr. Mazzotta Troccoli has stated that it has now become more common throughout Italy.
“If further observations and laboratory data will confirm that we are facing a clinical sign of COVID-19, this dermatological sign could be useful for identifying children and adolescents with minimal forms of infection, but potential sources of further infection,” wrote Dr. Troccoli in the case study for the federation.
New symptoms healthcare workers need to look out for
In their reports, both the Spanish General Council of Official Podiatrist Colleges and the International Federation of Podologists observed a lack of scientific studies on the link between the lesions and the coronavirus.
“Given the short time that has passed since the outbreak began there is not enough evidence to satisfy the scientific community, but The Council of Podiatrists urges its Colleges and its members to be very vigilant because this may be a sign of COVID-19 detection that can help to avoid contagion,” stated the council.
That said, the council has gone ahead and issues guidance for when someone displays the foot sores, advising people to consider it a possible symptom so that they can take the necessary precautions.
“When these cases are detected by parents or relatives, the child should be kept in quarantine, isolated, and a topical corticosteroid can be applied and temperature control can be carried out, always with the reassurance that these are benign lesions with favorable evolution, but acting with caution being a possible asymptomatic carrier,” the council stated.
However, the council also adds that people shouldn’t immediately bring family members to hospitals just because they have foot sores, to prevent infection in case they don’t have COVID-19.
“To avoid contagion in those affected and their families, it is not recommended to go to primary care centers and hospitals only because of the appearance of these dermatological lesions.”
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