Mottled skin could be a sign of Covid in babies - everything parents need to know

A mother has shared her experience on social media to warn others, after her baby developed unusual symptoms of Covid-19.

The four month old child was taken into hospital in Essex and treated for coronavirus over three nights, after developing mottled skin and sickness.

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The baby’s symptoms included patchy or mottled skin, swelling on his lips, a high temperature and inability to keep fluids down.

Speaking to the BBC, Myer Ruelhoff, the child’s mother, said: “I thought it was a sickness bug. I had no idea it was caused by coronavirus.”

After the baby initially developed a fever, then the next day began vomiting, she called NHS 111 on 2 January, who advised her to take him to hospital.

She said: “I really did not want to go. I was so scared about him getting the virus there, I had no idea he had it.

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“He got so poorly so quickly when we arrived and was really lethargic. They took a swab and, when they said he was positive, I burst into tears. It was such a shock.”

Ms Rudelhoff has since said that the hospital staff were “amazing” and said other parents should not be concerned about taking their children to hospital if they’re ill.

What are the symptoms of Covid in babies and young children?

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus in children are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste - this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Some researchers have also found that diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and vomiting can also be signs of coronavirus in children.

Is mottled skin a symptom?

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While some anecdotal evidence has linked mottled skin as a symptom with coronavirus, experts say this can also be a normal phenomena in young children, but parents should nonetheless be vigilant.

President of the British Association of Dermatologists, Dr Tanya Bleiker, said: “Mottled skin is a condition known as Livedo Reticularis and the changes noted are due to low blood flow. In many babies it is a normal finding, called cutis marmorata, which is a normal (physiological) response to cold exposure and disappears with warming.

“In the context of a sick child, it should be taken seriously as there are a number of underlying causes including severe infection. It is a finding that has been reported rarely in patients with Covid-19 infection.”

She added: “If your child is unwell with a new onset mottled rash then it is important to seek medical advice.”

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