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Coronavirus symptoms: Are anosmia, chilblains, and enanthem related to COVID-19?

Customers receive temperature check at a restaurant in Hong Kong Tuesday, April 14, 2020.
Customers receive temperature check at a restaurant in Hong Kong Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Copyright Vincent Yu/AP Photo
Copyright Vincent Yu/AP Photo
By Lauren Chadwick
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Here are some of the less common symptoms associated with COVID-19.


New symptoms due to coronavirus have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic as experts better understand how COVID-19 manifests itself in humans.

The most common symptoms, according to health bodies, include a fever, dry cough, and fatigue and the most serious symptoms could include shortness of breath, chest pain, and loss of speech, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also warns to look out for any mental confusion or blue lips for signs of severe COVID-19 that would require someone to be hospitalised.

But there are also a variety of less common symptoms that have emerged as the disease continues to spread across the globe. It has so far infected more than 14.7 million people and killed more than 600,000 globally.

Those less common symptoms include: aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes, according to the WHO.

So what are some of the official terms for some of these emerging coronavirus symptoms?

Asthenia and myalgia

Asthenia is the medical term for muscular weakness and is a common symptom for those affected by coronavirus, according to Public Health France and the World Health Organization.

Myalgia is the medical term for muscle aches or pains. When muscle pain is unexplained or combined with another symptom of COVID-19, it could be related to coronavirus.

Anosmia, hyposmia and dysgeusia

Anosmia, hyposmia and dysgeusia are known potential symptoms of coronavirus. Anosmia is a loss of the ability to smell while hyposmia is a reduction in the sense of smell.

Dysgeusia, meanwhile, is a distortion of the sense of taste.

These are all now listed on major lists of symptoms of coronavirus by public health experts around the world. Public Health England, for instance, lists a sudden change or loss in the sense of taste or smell as a main symptom of coronavirus.


Chilblains are painful or itchy inflammation of small blood vessels in fingers or toes.

They are often associated with exposure to cold air but during the COVID-19 pandemic, dermatologists in several countries reported they had more consultations for these blister-like lesions.

The World Health Organization lists "discolouration of fingers or toes" as a potential but less common symptom of COVID-19. This symptom was dubbed in the media as "COVID toes".

Recent research on chilblains, however, showed that patients presenting this symptom did not test positive for coronavirus, meaning it could be related to lockdown, researchers in Belgium said recently.

Other researchers had theorised that it could be a post-viral symptom for asymptomatic cases.

Enanthem, urticaria and other skin manifestations

The WHO lists a skin rash along with discolouration of toes and fingers as a potential COVID-19 symptom.

Several studies have looked into the potential manifestation of this symptom.


A recent small study linked enanthem, which is a skin rash in the mouth, to COVID-19 patients in Italy but it's not immediately clear if these rashes are COVID-19 related:

"Whether these manifestations are directly related to COVID-19 remains unclear, since both viral infections and adverse drug reactions are frequent causes of exanthems," researchers said in a letter published by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Another recent UK study surveying people who used the UK symptom survey app, found that out of 336,847 UK users of the app, at least 6,403 reported the presence of skin signs and symptoms.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, said the most common skin symptoms were papular bumps (raised red bumps), urticaria (hives) or rashes on fingers and toes.

Complications from COVID-19


There are also a variety of potential complications from severe COVID-19, expert bodies say.

The US CDC lists potential complications as including pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, bacterial infections, and inflammation.

Heart attacks and strokes have also been associated in some severe COVID-19 cases.

Public Health France also listed disruption to heart rhythm (such as tachycardia or a fast resting heart rate) and thromboembolism (blood clotting) as complications from severe coronavirus.

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