This side effect is described as feeling like an “electric sensation” on the skin. Some people have said the burning feeling on their skin is so severe that it feels like their skin is truly burning, with some turning to aloe vera gel to get some relief.
Although not everyone will experience this symptom, doctors have identified several potential reasons behind it. It could be part of an autoimmune response affecting patients’ nervous systems, although it’s not clear whether it’s the patient’s body’s response to the virus or the actual virus itself that is causing the feeling.
One doctor told the New York Post that it could be related to a fever. Pack Health Clinical Director Dr. Vipul Shah said that people who aren’t accustomed to fevers may feel something like an electric sensation on their skin. He recommends using aloe or lotion to help.
Other doctors say it could be a symptom of post-traumatic stress after recovering from the tumult of being on a ventilator or spending time in the ICU. The infection is leaving many people with a sense of fatigue that sticks around for a while.
The so-called fizzing comes on top of other, more common symptoms that people are experiencing with the disease, such as extreme fatigue, breathlessness, aches and pains, diarrhea, headaches, and even sore eyes.
Another symptom that some coronavirus patients are experiencing that isn’t getting much attention is eye problems. Some research has suggested that conjunctivitis could be a symptom of COVID-19. A study in China that was published in JAMA Ophthalmology linked problems like excessively watery eyes, swelling of the tissue that lines the eyelids and eye surface, and conjunctival congestion with the disease. Nurses treating coronavirus patients report that many of those who are suffering the greatest with the disease have red eyes. They say it’s not the white part of their eyes that is red; instead, there's the appearance of a red eye shadow along the outside of their eyes.
In addition, eye pain is being linked to COVID-19 in searches around the world. In Italy, searches for the Italian equivalent of “burning eyes” were five times more than their usual level in March when the country was hit with the pandemic, while searches on eye pain climbed above fourfold in Spain from mid-February to mid-March. Iran saw a 50 percent rise in such searches in March. These searches, experts say, aren’t related to pollen concentrations. They do add, however, that searches on terms related to eye pain remain significantly lower than those on other COVID-19 symptoms, like the loss of smell.
There’s also some evidence that the disease can spread through the eyes, which is why people are being told not to touch their eyes until they’ve washed their hands. Although one study suggests the risk of spreading it via tears is low, it’s important to be careful.
While some of these symptoms we’re starting to hear more about aren’t present in every case, it’s important to pay attention to your body and start isolating yourself from others within your home if you experience any of them out of an abundance of caution. And if you’re considering heading to the doctor’s, be sure to call first as they may be able to help you over the phone, especially in the early stages, thus limiting the potential for you to spread it or be exposed if you don’t already have it.
Sources for this article include: