Does COVID-19 Cause Paresthesia?

Reviewed on 12/8/2020

What Is Paresthesia? What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 and paresthesia
Paresthesia, such as tingling in the hands and feet, is not a common symptom of COVID-19.

Paresthesia describes abnormal burning or prickling sensations that are usually felt in the arms, hands, legs, or feet, but may also occur in other parts of the body. The sensation is usually painless and may be described as tingling, numbness, skin crawling, or itching. 

Temporary paresthesia is common and often described as “pins and needles,” such as when a person falls asleep on an arm or sits too long with legs crossed. Chronic paresthesia can be a symptom of an underlying neurological disease or traumatic nerve damage.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus not identified in humans until late 2019. It is responsible for an outbreak of respiratory illness that became a global pandemic in 2020. The COVID-19 virus is different from other coronaviruses that cause mild illnesses, such as the common cold.

What Are Symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 appear about 2 to 14 days after exposure and include:

Emergency warning signs that require immediate medical attention (call 9-1-1 or go to a hospital’s emergency department): 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse

Less common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

What Are Symptoms of Paresthesia?

Symptoms of paresthesia are usually felt in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Paresthesia is usually painless, may be temporary such as “pins and needles” or chronic, and sensations may be described as:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Skin crawling
  • Itching

Is Paresthesia a Symptom of COVID-19?

Paresthesia, such as tingling in the hands and feet, is not a common symptom of COVID-19. It is, however, a symptom of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder associated with COVID-19. In Guillain-Barré syndrome, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s nerves, resulting in symptoms such as paresthesia. 

When a person becomes infected with COVID-19, immune system confusion may occur in rare cases and the immune system attacks the myelin sheath around the peripheral nerves, resulting in paresthesia.

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Reviewed on 12/8/2020
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