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Taiwanese child's nails turn white after catching COVID

"COVID nails" possibly caused by virus-induced blood clots

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Boy in Taiwan sees his nails turn white due to COVID infection. 

Boy in Taiwan sees his nails turn white due to COVID infection.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A child in Taiwan saw his nails turn white after testing positive for COVID-19 in a rare case that has thrown his parents into a panic.

A six-year-old boy in Taichung was found to have caught COVID in early June, showing symptoms such as a fever, running nose, and a cough. The fever receded in two days, but that was when his fingernails and toenails suddenly became unusually white, per CNA.

Kao Chia-huei (高佳慧), a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Taichung’s MetroHarbor Hospital, who treated the child via video link, said the condition was likely caused by tiny blood clots that formed within blood vessels during the infection. The clots can obstruct blood flow but are not considered a cause for concern, she added.

The diagnosis was reached after consulting other infectious disease experts, Kao noted, who said similar conditions have also been seen in other cases of children in Taiwan. The Taichung case was rare because his nails turned white on the third day of COVID confirmation, while others did not show the symptom until two to six weeks later.

Kao pointed out that the phenomenon, which will gradually disappear within two or three months, is not life-threatening, nor does it affect the hands or feet. Nail changes, such as the appearance of horizontal lines, have been reported in other countries in what is called “COVID nails,” which can occur a few days or weeks after infection.