My COVID Story: Bob

Skin rashes, swollen toes and fingers were cause for discomfort I’m Bob, a 67 and a retired mechanic. My family […]

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Skin rashes, swollen toes and fingers were cause for discomfort

I’m Bob, a 67 and a retired mechanic. My family and I live in the Duluth area. I still work part-time at a convenience store, stocking shelves, cleaning and doing other chores. 

I myself do not have any disabilities other than mild (osteo)arthritis in my back, knees and hands. However, my family and I care for our disabled granddaughter. Evie has Down syndrome so we have be very careful when any of us become sick. She is vulnerable to illness and doesn’t understand things like social distance. 

I developed COVID-19 after a community event in 2023. I didn’t wear a mask and probably should have. Several other people also became ill. I’ll admit that I had not kept up with boosters and new vaccines. That was a mistake! 

I stayed in a camper by our house until I tested negative. It was hard because Evie wanted to see me and didn’t understand what was going on. We talked through a window. She likes hugs but those were out of the question. 

My doctor warned me about the illness and fatigue that are part of COVID-19, and to prepare for any longer-term effects.  What I didn’t expect was to have skin problems. 
Days after I tested negative, I developed a painful skin rash. 

I had measles and then chicken pox as a kid, along with my brothers and sisters. I’ll never forget my mother telling me not to scratch myself. The COVID rash reminded me of those days. 

I went outside one day for some fresh air. Later that afternoon my face broke out in a rash. 

I then developed what are called “COVID toes.” My toes and fingers blew up like balloons and had dark spots. It was hard for me to do anything with my hands for several days, and hard to walk.  Part of my story is to remind people who get sick to be ready for any skin problems, and to ask questions. Make sure you and those you love do not get sick! 

Skin conditions have been tracked since early in the pandemic. What is called a Morbilliform rash is a symptom that appeared early in the pandemic. It can look like a case of measles.  Other skin conditions that can develop including itchy, red skin welts and small blisters. 

Canker sores in the mouth can also be associated with COVID-19, as are hives. 
Pseudo-chilblains or COVID toes and fingers can be very painful and can restrict movements. 

Studies of the pandemic indicate that while these skin conditions and swollen digits are painful, cases of long-lasting impacts are rare. Many cases last for 10 days to a couple of weeks. 

More concerning can be what are known as vaso-occlusive lesions. These skin lesions are more often seen when people are hospitalized with moderate to severe cases of COVID-19.  The American Academy of Dermatology is one of many good resources for people with COVID-19 related skin conditions. Learn more at American Academy of Dermatology Association

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  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."

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