COVID-19 has left people with a variety of illnesses, including respiratory problems, headaches, and more. Now doctors are saying there’s a new symptom that is appearing in those who have suffered from the virus: COVID nails. Learn more about the nails and why you may want to keep a look out for them in a Washington Post piece by Allyson Chiu below.
At this point in the pandemic, the coronavirus’s devastating effects on the human body have been well documented. But unusual symptoms that may be connected to the virus continue to crop up, including “covid toes,” “covid tongue” and hair loss.
Now, news reports and social media posts have documented visible changes in the nails of some covid-19 survivors, most commonly in the form of horizontal grooves. Dubbed “COVID nails” by a U.K.-based epidemiologist who tweeted about the markings earlier this month, the anecdotal reports have prompted assertions that it could be a way to tell whether you’ve had the virus.
Other experts, however, caution against relying on your nails as proof that you may have been infected. “Whether it comes to nail changes or skin rashes or hair loss, these are not necessarily things that covid does because it’s covid,” said Jeffrey Weinberg, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York. Those symptoms, Weinberg said, “could happen with anything that perturbs the body.”
Here’s what Weinberg and other experts had to say about nail changes observed in coronavirus cases.
Can illnesses such as covid-19 affect your nails?
“A lot of different illnesses and infections can cause nail changes,” said Esther Freeman, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and principal investigator for an international registry of dermatologic reactions related to the coronavirus. But Freeman noted, a “relatively small proportion” of health-care providers has been reporting unusual-looking nails to the registry.
Of the nail symptoms detailed in the registry, the most commonly reported phenomenon is Beau’s lines, or the horizontal grooves that have been associated with “covid nails,” said Freeman, who suggested a more precise name would be “post-covid nails.” The grooves often appear across all fingernails and occasionally on toenails.
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