What You Should Know About 'COVID Nails'

You don't need us to tell you that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed billions of people's everyday lives since 2020. Yet and still, the multitude of side effects and symptoms of the disease continue to reveal themselves. You have likely heard about the prolonged exhaustion and other lingering side effects that can follow COVID-19 infection. Luckily, though, this latest symptom known as "COVID nails," which presents itself in certain individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, is not as noticeable or serious as the others. 

Tim Spector, a British epidemiologist and principal investigator of the Zoe COVID Symptom Study app, tweeted, "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. [It] can occur without skin rashes and appears harmless." So, what are these lines and what do they mean? Here's what you need to know about COVID nails.

'COVID nails' go by another name

By looking "odd," epidemiologist Tim Spector was likely referring to the sudden appearance of fine lines or grooves in the fingernails. The medical term for this change in the nails is called Beau's lines, per Healthline. As Spector said, the change in the nails is apparently harmless. Although they've been dubbed "COVID nails," your nails can also develop Beau's lines from entirely different illnesses.

New York City dermatologist Doris Day told Health, "When you have major physiological stress, like an illness, you basically have a shifting in the nail cycle." Day went on to say this change won't happen right away; it is most likely to show up after two to three months.

Healthline explained that Beau's lines can often occur after an infection or injury and can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Health that this visual change in your nails is not permanent. It should disappear as your nails grow out. And hopefully by the time your Beau's lines have disappeared, you will also be relieved of any other lasting COVID-19 side effects.