One of the many challenges facing healthcare professionals working with COVID-19 patients is the many different ways the virus can attack the human body.
While some of the most commonly reported symptoms are cough, fever, and breathing difficulties, experts now know that COVID-19 can seriously impact blood vessels. As a Harvard Medical School report said, “While caused by a respiratory virus, COVID-19 manifests as a vascular disease that leads to severe injuries to blood vessels throughout the lungs. The damage to vascular cells may help explain why serious blood clotting has been observed in many patients.”
Among the presentations of the illness can be skin that appears discolored or purple. While similar discolorations are often due to pressure injuries, the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) notes that some discoloration has appeared in areas of skin and soft tissue not under pressure.
To support healthcare professionals caring for patients with COVID-19, the NPIAP has gathered pressure injury resources related to the virus. Resources include a position paper and an infographic on injuries related to long-term wearing of N95 masks; pressure injury prevention tips for patients who are lying prone to facilitate respiration; “COVID Toes” and other skin discolorations linked to the virus; and a position paper on “unavoidable” pressure injuries during the pandemic.