Do You Have COVID Nails? Here’s What You Must Know About Them

·4-min read

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the global healthcare system forever. It’s made the flaws extremely obvious while pointing out how unequipped we really are to handle a global healthcare crisis.

As countries still continue to reel under the effects of the pandemic – medically and financially – the virus still lingers on with new symptoms and after-effects. We still don’t know about the long-term effects of the virus on the body and experts discover something new every day.

In fact, the latest effect of the coronavirus may come as a bit of a surprise and goes on to show how deep the Covid-19 virus infection actually affects your body.

The main signs of having Covid infection include fever, cough, fatigue, loss of taste and smell. There have also been signs of the skin showing effects too. However, there’s now a new body part that will make things obvious and it’s the fingernail.

Certain Covid patients have complained of discoloured or misshapen fingernails a few weeks after contracting the infection. This has been dubbed ‘Covid nails.’

What Are Covid Nails?

It’s not shocking that Covid-19 affects fingernails since nails do indicate your good and bad health on a regular day. In fact, Covid nails can be described as residual side-effects of the infection, which are part of the body’s coping mechanism.

British epidemiologist Tim Spector first discovered this phenomenon. He is also involved in the UK-based COVID symptom study app. The Covid nails are being looked like a possible side-effect post-recovery. These are evident with a clear line on the nail bed.

What Are The Symptoms Of Covid Nails?

Red Half-Moon Pattern

Covid Nails
Covid Nails

Image Source: Pexels

A red half-moon pattern forms a convex band over the white area at the base of fingernails. Patients noticed it less than two weeks after being diagnosed.

Red half-moon nail patterns are largely rare and aren’t seen so close to the nail base before. This hints that the pattern could be exclusive to the Covid-19 infection.

Experts say that this could happen due to damage to the blood vessel associated with the virus. It could also happen due to the immune response against the virus causing mini blood clots and discolouration.

That being said, these marks don’t appear to be worrying. There’s no clear indication of how long the pattern lasts and can take anything between one week and four weeks.

Beau’s Lines

Covid Nails
Covid Nails

Image Source:

A few patients also found horizontal indentations in the base of nails of fingers and toes. These are Beau’s Lines and tend to appear four weeks or after the Covid-19 infection.

Beau’s lines happen due to a temporary interruption in nail growth due to physical stress on the body. The regular factors causing this include infection, malnutrition or even chemotherapy drugs.

While it’s possible that Covid-19 triggered Beau’s Lines in certain patients, it’s not specific to the virus.

Beau’s Lines are also noticeable four to five weeks after the body has undergone physical stress. Since nails grow between 2 mm and 5 mm every month, they are more apparent on longer nails.

That said, you need not worry about them. You will eventually grow them out once the underlying condition resolves.

More Unusual Symptoms

Covid Nails
Covid Nails

Image Source: Pexels

While these are the most common Covid nails symptoms that experts have noted, there were also patients that had some unusual symptoms. This includes a patient’s nail loosening and falling out. The incident happened with a female patient and three months after contracting the infection.

This condition is onychomadesis and likely happens for the same reason as Beau’s lines.

In this case, the patient reported growing a healthy nail once again, indicating that the body showed signs of recovery.

There was also a case of orange discolouration on the nail tips, 112 days after testing positive. In this case, too, no formal treatment administered and the issue resolved itself.

In a separate case, a patient saw horizontal white lines appear on their nails. This is Mees’ Lines. They appeared 45 days after the patient tested positive and resolved on their own without any treatment. In a regular situation, abnormal production of protein in the nail due to systemic disorders cause Mees’ Lines.

Scientists are yet to figure out what caused it in the Covid patient.

Source: The Conversation


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