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US doctors say it could be an ’emergency warning sign of Covid’

Have YOU got grey lips, skin or nails? US doctors say it could be an ’emergency warning sign of Covid’ – but NHS DOESN’T warn people about unusual symptom

  • Centres for Disease Control and Prevention lists it as a potential warning sign
  • This is alongside as many as 11 possible Covid symptoms that it lists
  • But the NHS still only recognises three symptoms of the virus despite research 










Grey lips, skin and nails may be an ’emergency warning sign’ of Covid, according to US medics.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the discolouration as an indication that someone should seek immediate medical care.

American health chiefs have recognised it as a potential sign someone needs urgent medical attention since the start of the pandemic, despite recent claims that it may be specific to Omicron.

The CDC recognises more than 11 symptoms — including headache, sore throat and nausea — as a possible Covid symptom, and lists dozens more as potential signs.

But the NHS still only acknowledges three symptoms as warning signs of Covid, which are fever, new continuous cough and a loss of smell and taste.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the discolouration as an indication that someone should seek immediate medical care

This is despite studies in the UK showing vaccines have ‘changed the game’, and led to more infected people facing much milder symptoms of the virus.

The NHS does not consider grey lips, skin or nails as a warning sign of the virus that warrants urgent medical attention.

It only warns of pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin in children, saying that parents of any youngster with discolouration should ring 999 immediately. 

What are the key Covid symptoms?

According to health data science company ZOE and King’s College London researchers these are the key symptoms of Covid.

They say that vaccines have led to many people suffering more mild disease.

The symptoms are:

  • Sneezing;
  • Headache;
  • Runny nose;
  • Loss of smell and taste;
  • Cough;
  • Fever;
  • Sore throat. 

In guidance updated in February last year the CDC said grey-coloured lips, skin and nails could be a symptom of Covid.

It was listed alongside trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion and inability to wake or stay awake.

The agency said: ‘If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately.’

Grey skin and lips, medically termed cyanosis, are warning signs that there is too little oxygen in the blood or of poor blood circulation. 

It can be linked to serious problems including asthma, pneumonia or heart disease.

It is likely this symptom only appears in the later stages of a Covid infection.

Grey nails can be a warning sign of an iron deficiency, which suggests vital organs in the body may be struggling to get enough oxygen.

But they can also be caused by injuries, regular smoking, a fungal infection or hands often being in water or cleaning products.

The NHS list — which has come in for regular criticism about its short list of symptoms — only lists three possible signs.

But surveillance involving more than a million Britons has highlighted four other key symptoms to watch out for.

Alongside the three main NHS symptoms, the ZOE Covid symptom study says a runny nose, headache, sneezing and sore throat are all signs of Covid.

They say: ‘Many people remain unaware of all the symptoms we should be looking out for.

‘This leaves people at risk of wrongly believing they have a cold, when in fact they could have Covid.’

NHS England has been contacted by MailOnline. 

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