By: Devika Kandelwal
September 10 2021
Current scientific evidence indicates that Beau's lines or lines across your fingernails is not a reliable sign that you had COVID-19.
Current scientific evidence indicates that Beau's lines or lines across your fingernails is not a reliable sign that you had COVID-19. A Facebook page called IFLScience shared an image on September 9. The image has a picture of nails with a caption, "These Lines On Your Nails Could Be A Sign That You Have Had COVID-19." The post has amassed 398.5K views in less than 24 hours. Professor Tim Spector was the first person to bring this possible sign of COVID-19 to everyone's attention back on May 3, 2021. He wrote on Twitter, “Do your nails look odd? COVID nails are increasingly being recognized as the nails recover after infection and the growth recovers leaving a clear line. Can occur without skin rashes and appears harmless." According to his Twitter bio, Spector is the principal investigator for the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, which gathers public information about the spread of infection and the variety of symptoms associated with the virus. His post was quote tweeted several times with people claiming that they have discoloration or lines on their fingernails and they "definitely have had COVID then." The condition has come to be known as "COVID Nails," however, Spector's tweet and the Facebook post lack context. In medical terms, "this condition is known as Beau’s lines and is not unique to COVID-19, but rather a general reaction to an illness or injury," according to Lloyds Pharmacy. This condition can usually occur after our nails have undergone some trauma or injury or from other conditions like diabetes or the flu. After his first post, Spector posted again on Twitter an hour later, saying that, "Yes - any illness can provoke them - it’s not specific to Covid - but clearly a lot of people were exposed at a similar time." However, his earlier post had been shared several times by now, which lacked context. Jeffrey Weinberg, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in New York, told the Washington Post, "Whether it comes to nail changes or skin rashes or hair loss, these are not necessarily things that COVID does because it’s COVID,” He added, “[they] could happen with anything that perturbs the body.” Moreover, Esther Freeman, director of global health dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and principal investigator for an international registry of dermatologic reactions related to the coronavirus told the Washington Post that “relatively small proportion of health-care providers has been reporting unusual-looking nails to the registry." According to several dermatologists who spoke to the Washington Post concluded that "most nail changes, including Beau’s lines, aren’t permanent and shout not be cause for panic." The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.