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Dermatology and COVID-19: What You Should Know

Because of COVID-19, the world has changed, especially for the medical profession. While hospitals and intensive care units are rightly getting the bulk of the attention these days, the virus has affected every aspect of medical care, including dermatology.

At Melanie L. Adams Dermatology in Columbia, Maryland, we understand that you likely have many questions about COVID-19 and how it affects your health care. We want to be proactive in communicating with you, so below you’ll find our latest information on what we know in two areas:

COVID-19 and dermatology

While the effects of COVID-19 on the respiratory system are well known, the virus also affects other areas of the body. Doctors are finding out more and more about how it interacts with the skin, and the National Institutes of Health has outlined some basic issues concerning COVID-19 and dermatology.

One of the biggest effects of the virus on the skin is the development of irritation, even dermatitis, due to the repeated hand washing that we’re all encouraged to do. Applying a barrier cream and moisturizer to your hands helps prevent dermatitis. 

Some reports also indicate that skin rashes are an emerging symptom of COVID-19. A specific rash hasn’t been associated with the disease, but reports from dermatologists working with patients in Italy and Thailand have included the development of skin rashes. Other details aren’t yet known, but rashes are a symptom to keep your eye on.

One other possible complication of the disease-related to dermatology is “COVID toe,” which refers to red and purple lesions on the toes and hands. If you suspect you’re developing this symptom, let your doctor know right away — it may be a sign of the virus in your body.

As doctors learn more about COVID-19, the American Academy of Dermatology and the International League of Dermatology Societies are working with Massachusetts General Hospital to create an international COVID-19 registry to collect and track dermatologic manifestations of COVID-19. Such data will be invaluable as we continue to learn more about the virus.

What does COVID-19 mean for this office?

Because diseases that cause a break in the epidermal barrier (your skin) could enhance your risk of contracting coronavirus through direct contact, dermatology patients may be at increased risk for developing COVID-19.

In practical terms, this means our office is closed to normal in-person visits for now, although we’re providing in-person emergency care and routine care through telehealth appointments.

Once our office reopens, we’ll take enhanced measures to protect the health of our patients and our staff. This includes, but isn’t limited to, masks worn at all times by staff and patients; appointments limited to the patient only, unless the patient is a minor or needs assistance; frequent cleaning of common areas; and altered waiting procedures (you may be asked to wait in your car).

Even though our care may take different forms, rest assured that our commitment to our patients hasn’t changed. Dr. Melanie Adams and our entire team are still providing top-notch care. If you need an appointment, just contact our office by phone or use our convenient online scheduler to choose your own time. We’ll see you soon!

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