Before the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Lindy Fox, a dermatologist in San Francisco, used to see four or five patients a year with chilblains — painful red or purple lesions that typically emerge on fingers or toes in the winter.
Over the past few weeks, she has seen dozens.
“All of a sudden, we are inundated with toes,” said Dr. Fox, who practices at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’ve got clinics filled with people coming in with new toe lesions. And it’s not people who had chilblains before — they’ve never had anything like this.”
It’s also not the time of year for chilblains, which are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions. “Usually, we see it in the dead of winter,” Dr. Fox said.
Dr. Fox is not the only one deluged with cases. In Boston, Dr. Esther Freeman, director of