COVID symptoms have evolved in tandem with the emergence of new variants. Initially, the NHS considered fever, cough, and loss or change in sense of smell or taste to be the primary symptoms of COVID infection.

A sore throat, blocked or runny nose, and a headache are now among the symptoms to be on the lookout for, according to recently updated NHS guidance.

But what about the less obvious signs and symptoms? From skin lesions to hearing loss, emerging data shows that COVID symptoms can extend beyond what you might expect from a common cold or flu.1. Skin blemishes Skin problems caused by COVID are not uncommon. According to a UK study published in 2021, one in every five patients only had a rash and no other symptoms.COVID can have a variety of effects on the skin. Some people develop a widespread maculopapular rash (flat or raised areas of discolored skin), while others develop hives (raised areas of itchy skin). Meanwhile, “COVID toes” refers to red, swollen, or blistering skin lesions on the toes.

This symptom is more common in adolescents or young adults who have no or mild symptoms. Most COVID skin lesions resolve on their own after a few days, or in some cases, a few weeks, with no need for specialized treatment. However, if the skin is extremely itchy or painful, you should see a doctor or a dermatologist, who may recommend treatment such as a cream.2. COVID nail polish During an infection, such as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), our bodies try to express that they are under unusually high stress. They have the ability to do this in a variety of strange and wonderful ways, including through our nails. “COVID nails” refers to changes such as Beau’s lines, which are horizontal indentations at the base of the fingernails or toenails caused by a temporary interruption in nail growth caused by physical stress on the body.

Mees’ lines are horizontal white lines that appear on the nails and are thought to be caused by abnormal protein production in the nail bed. A red half-moon pattern develops at the base of the fingernails (the mechanism underlying this change is unclear). The data on how many people have COVID nails is limited, but it is estimated that up to 1-2 percent of COVID patients have them.

How to reduce the impact of coronavirus on our lives - The Washington Post

The data on how many people have COVID nails is limited, but it is estimated that up to 1-2 percent of COVID patients have them.COVID nails typically appear as the nails grow in the days or weeks following COVID infection. Although they may be painful at first, the vast majority of them will return to normal within a few weeks.

Notably, while these changes may be indicative of COVID, they can also be the result of other factors. Beau’s lines, for example, could be the result of chemotherapy or another infection.Hair loss, which usually occurs one month or more after the acute infection, is an understated symptom of COVID-19. Hair loss was the most common post-COVID symptom reported by 48 percent of participants in one study of nearly 6,000 people who had previously had COVID. It was more common in people with severe COVID and white women.

This is thought to be caused by the hair “sensing” the stress in the body, resulting in excessive shedding. Indeed, other stressful events, such as childbirth, can cause hair loss. The good news is that the hair will grow back to normal over time.

Tinnitus and hearing loss COVID, like other viral infections such as the flu and measles, has been shown to affect the cells in the inner ear, resulting in hearing loss or tinnitus (a constant ringing sensation in the ear) in some cases. Hearing loss occurred in 3.1 percent of COVID patients, while tinnitus occurred in 4.5 percent, according to a review study with 560 participants. In one study of 30 people with COVID and 30 people without – none of whom had pre-existing hearing problems – the researchers discovered that COVID was associated with inner ear damage, which resulted in hearing impairment at higher frequencies. While the vast majority of patients recover on their own, cases of permanent hearing loss associated with COVID have been reported.

Why are there so many symptoms?

We don’t know exactly what causes these symptoms, but we do know that a process known as inflammation plays a significant role. Inflammation is our body’s natural defense mechanism against pathogens, in this case, SARS-CoV-2. It entails the production of “cytokines,” which are proteins that play a role in controlling the activity of immune cells. Excessive production of these proteins as part of the inflammation caused by COVID infection can result in sensory deficits, which could explain why some people have hearing loss and tinnitus. It can also disrupt capillary networks, which are very small blood vessels that supply blood to organs such as the ears, skin, and nails. The symptoms described above are not unique to COVID infection. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should consider getting a COVID test, especially if you live in an area where COVID is prevalent.

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