New symptom experts say needs adding to official UK coronavirus list to save lives
Skin rashes are so indicative of coronavirus that they need to be included on the NHS’s official list of symptoms in order to save lives, experts say.
Doctors and scientists say rashes should be taken as seriously as a high temperature, new continuous cough and loss of taste or smell.
The World Health Organisation has included “a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes” on its list for months, but the UK is holding back.
The dermatologists’ association, the health science company Zoe and King’s College researchers have launched a website showing images of Covid-19 skin rashes to help people identify theirs.
Dr Justine Kluk, a consultant dermatologist, helped choose the images for the website.
She told the Times: “This new atlas of covid rashes, the first of its kind, is an important step in raising awareness.”
Without patients realising the significance of the skin rash, they do not know they need to self-isolate to stop spreading the virus to others.
Children are twice as likely to develop a rash compared to adults, and the rash was the only sign of coronavirus in 21 per cent of people testing positive for the virus.
Dr Veronique Bataille, a consultant dermatologist at St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College, added: “Our research shows that rashes can be more predictive of Covid-19 than fever and cough, particularly in children.
“We found one in six children get a rash without any other classical symptoms.”
Dr Tanya Bleiker, president of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “The association between certain rashes and Covid-19 has become increasingly clear, and being able to recognise these is crucial for reducing the spread of the disease.”
And Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College added: “We have asked the government to add a new skin rash to the official NHS list of signs and symptoms of Covid-19, as it will reduce infections and save lives.”
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