A scientist has warned of a new symptom people should look out for which may show if you’ve contracted coronavirus in the past.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Zoe Symptom Study app, said people who had a “clear line” on their nails may have had the virus. The line could be caused by the interruption of growth to your nail due to injury or illness. The professor also said this could occur without skin rashes and appeared to be harmless.
Posting a photo on Twitter, he wrote: “Do your nails look odd? Covid nails are increasingly being recognised as the nails recover after infection and the growth recovers leaving a clear line. Can occur without skin rashes and appears harmless.”
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Some social media users replied, saying they noticed a similar line in their nails and asking whether it could be related to other illnesses too.
A person wrote: “Do you get these after having flu too? I had (for the first time) flu in early December 2019 and noticed these lines weeks/months until the nail grew out and I wondered if there was a link.”
Another added: “I developed these as well as my nails now growing ‘mishapen’ since having COVID in early Dec. Never considered that could have been the cause good to know I haven’t imagined this!”
Professor Spector said: “Any illness can provoke them – it’s not specific to Covid – but clearly a lot of people were exposed at a similar time.”
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The post prompted several replies from people sharing photos of their own nails as well as pointing out changes as a result of serious illnesses – not solely coronavirus.
The grooves – commonly referred to as Beau’s lines – are often seen in patients who have had a viral infection. They usually grow out over time and are harmless, reports the Mirror.
Dr Tanya Bleiker, president of the British Association of Dermatologists, explained: “Dermatologists are seeing ‘Covid Nails’ in some patients who have had an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid 19. These changes have long been recognised as ‘Beau’s lines’ and are transverse indents in the nail of many, or all, fingernails and sometimes toenails. They are caused by a temporary interruption of the growth of the nail due to a number of causes including febrile illnesses such as Covid-19 infection.”
The most common Covid-19 symptoms are a new and continuous cough, fever, and loss of a sense of taste and smell. But studies have also found some less common symptoms – such as chills, a loss of appetite and muscle ache – which could be linked to the disease. You can find a full list of all known symptoms here.