Common skin signs of COVID-19 in adults: An update

Type 1 of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) causes cold sores, also called oral herpes. Type 2 of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) affects the genital region, but HSV-1 can also spread from the mouth to the genitals.

Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lives on inside your body. Later it may come back as shingles, a painful, blistering rash. It’s more likely as you get older. The virus is embedded in the blisters. Contact with the virus can’t give you shingles directly, but it could give you chickenpox if you’ve never had it. A shingles vaccine might help prevent an outbreak.

While the virus can affect both children and adults, the rash is more common in children. The rash appears from four to 14 days after infection. It can spread to other parts of the body and fades after about five to 10 days.

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Lupus is an autoimmune condition, meaning the body attacks its own tissues and organs. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, so people with lupus can have various symptoms, which include:

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3) Dr P. Marazzi / Science Source

If you’re not up to date on your vaccinations, this virus could cause a fine, pink rash that starts on your face and spreads to your body, arms, and legs. It disappears in the same order. You may also feel a bit sick and have a headache. You can get it from an infected person when they cough or sneeze near you.

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Vaso-occlusive lesions in COVID-19. (A) A 62-year-old man with COVID-19 developed an irregular, mottled, purpuric patch on his knee extending onto his thigh during an extended hospitalization complicated by septic shock and acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. He died of his illness 3.5 weeks after admission. (B) A 77-year-old man (also described in Figure 1) developed purpuric patches with central hemorrhagic crusts on the left buttock shortly after hospitalization for COVID-19.

While most viral rashes aren’t considered serious, only a healthcare provider can provide an accurate diagnosis for your rash. Factors such as the type of viral rash you have, your medical history, and your current health condition, can affect the outcomes of a viral rash. If you have a rash, contact your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (also known as acne inversa) is a chronic, noncontagious, inflammatory condition characterized by pimple-like bumps or boils and tunnels or tracts on and under the skin.

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A Zika virus rash is maculopapular. It includes macules (tiny, raised blotches) and papules (reddish bumps). It usually starts on the trunk and spreads to other areas of the body, often causing itching.

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Only 20% of people infected with Zika get symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are usually mild, lasting from a couple of days up to a week.

If you are pregnant and have symptoms of rubella or learn you’ve been exposed to the virus, contact your healthcare provider immediately. The virus can cause congenital rubella syndrome, resulting in serious birth defects.

Acrodermatitis produces a rash that may or may not itch. It is characterized by the following symptoms:

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Treatments for viral rashes vary depending on the underlying cause of the rash. Many viral rashes don’t require any treatment and clear on their own. Others may benefit from medical care or medication to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration.

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You can get it from sexual intercourse or from oral sex. Your genitals might tingle, itch, or burn before painful, blistering sores develop. These last 7-10 days before they crust over. The virus stays in your body even when you have no symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe drugs to limit or control outbreaks. Use a condom to lessen the chance you’ll get or pass on the virus.

HIV is a viral infection spread through sex or IV drug use. It can cause a rash that’s flat and red with tiny bumps. In some cases, the skin might be very sensitive to sunlight or chemicals like cleaning agents. If you have HIV, you might also be more likely to get other conditions that cause rashes, like genital herpes, cold sores, Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, and molluscum.

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The need for treatment of a viral rash depends on the type of rash, your medical history, age, and current physical condition.

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Rubella, commonly called German measles, is an infection that mostly affects the skin and lymph nodes. A rash is the first sign of illness after infection.

You might not like the look of these itchy, painful sores on your mouth and lips. They come from a virus (HSV-1) that most people get as children from the spit of an infected person. The sores usually get better on their own, but your doctor may suggest antiviral pills or creams to help speed the healing. The virus stays in your body and could cause outbreaks when you are sick, anxious, or overtired.

You can pick up this rare disease from bites from the Rocky Mountain wood tick. This eight-legged creature lives in the western U.S. in higher altitudes and picks up the virus as it feeds on squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. You’ll likely feel tired and achy with fever and chills. You could also have a headache, belly pain, vomiting, and a skin rash. There’s no pill for it, but in serious cases you may need hospital care to get better.

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Cold sores often appear in clusters on or around the lips. People may experience a tingling sensation in the affected area before a breakout.

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Kids between 9 months and 9 years often get this bumpy rash. It breaks out on the arms, legs, and bottom, sometimes with blisters. Viral infections like hepatitis B, Epstein-Barr, or cytomegalovirus can cause it. Other symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, and fever. The rash lasts from 10 days to several weeks. It usually goes away on its own, but your doctor might suggest using a steroid cream.

The rash first appears on the torso, face, and scalp. It can spread virtually anywhere, including the mouth, eyes, and genitals.

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