If there’s one good thing about COVID-19, or coronavirus, it’s that it hasn’t seemed to have much of an effect on kids or babies as much as it has adults. While there have been cases of children or teens getting the virus, they’d had mild symptoms and recover relatively quickly.

However, there’s one odd symptom that doctors believe could be a clue for young people without symptoms. While many kids are able to forgo the typical symptoms of the virus, like a fever and cough, they may notice their toes become discolored.

Deemed “COVID toes,” it seems that the discoloration appears in children before they get any other symptoms. That means if you notice a red or purplish rash of sorts on your child’s toes, it could mean they’ve been contracted with coronavirus.

“This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress,” says Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Right now, this is merely a theory; it’s all too new to have any scientific evidence to cling on to.

“We don’t know for sure if it’s related to COVID-19,” Paller said, “but when it’s so common right now during a pandemic and is occurring in otherwise asymptomatic or mildly affected patients, it seems too much of a coincidence not to be a manifestation of the virus.”

Symptoms of “COVID toes” include: 

  • A dark purple or red discoloration on the tops of the toes
  • The discoloration is itchy or painful, or even feel like a hot burning sensation
  • In some cases, there have been small colorful circles on the bottom of the foot or big toe

While the toe discoloration mostly appears in children above age 10, as well as teenagers, there have been a few cases where middle-aged or elderly people who have tested positive for the virus have experienced it as well.

Why do COVID toes occur? There are two theories at the moment: blood clots or inflammation, though it’s hard to know for sure since not many people even report it (as some think it’s unrelated).

However, there has been an increase in the number of people reporting COVID toes since Paller put out an alert to a hospital. So hopefully we’ll learn more about it. In the meantime, she recommends giving your child ibuprofen if they experience COIVD toes or get a prescription for a type of cream if they’re suffering from itchiness.

Additionally, if you notice your child has COVID toes, try not to panic. Be sure to document any other symptoms that develop and schedule a doctor’s visit as soon as you can.

To learn more about this strange COVID toe phenomenon, check out the video below.

Do you know anyone who has experienced COVID toes and then developed coronavirus?