Scientists call for skin rash to be added to list of Covid-19 symptoms

By Becky Bargh 5-Oct-2020

King’s College London found 9% of people testing positive for Covid-19 had experienced a skin rash

Scientists at King’s College London have called on the UK government to add a skin rash to the official list of Covid-19 symptoms.

Using data from the Covid Symptom Study app, the university team found that 9% of people testing positive for Covid-19 had experienced a skin rash.

According to the findings, rashes can appear before, during or after other symptoms of the virus, which include persistent cough, loss of smell and a high temperature.

“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,” Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College told The Times.

Meanwhile, hair loss has been another symptom of those infected with the virus.

In response, King’s College researchers, the British Association of Dermatologists and health science company Zoe have introduced a website of Covid-19 related skin rashes.

Available at, the site shows a series of images of possible skin signs of Covid-19.

This includes neck and exposed chest eczema, oral, papular and vesicular, pityriasis rosea and urticarial.

Tanya Bleiker, president of the British Association of Dermatologists told Cosmetics Business that recognising the link between skin rashes and Covid-19 were crucial to slowing the spread of the disease.

“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.

“We’re delighted to announce the launch of the COVID-19 skin signs image gallery, with the Covid Symptom Study team.

“The extensive library will be an invaluable resource for both healthcare professionals and members of the public in helping to identify rashes which may indicate Cocid-19 infection, particularly in those who are otherwise asymptomatic.”

Meanwhile, in a press statement from King’s College, Consultant Dermatologist Justine Kluk added: “These findings highlight the importance of keeping an eye on any new changes in your skin, such as lumps, bumps or rashes.

“Earlier reporting of Covid-associated rashes by members of the public and recognition of their significance by frontline healthcare practitioners – such as GPs, NHS 111 and hospital staff – may increase the detection of coronavirus infections and help stop the spread.”

The UK has seen a stark rise in the number of coronavirus cases since the end of September.

According to the UK government website on 4 October more than 22,000 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded, up from 7,000 on the last day of September.

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Cosmetics Business has contacted the Department of Health & Social Care for comments.