Coronavirus update: New report finds two warning signs of COVID-19 on your face

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Orbital cellulitis, an inflammatory process involving the tissues around the eye, commonly results in swollen eyelids, limited and painful eye movements, and impaired vision. The main cause of the condition is sinusitis, caused by an infection of the sinuses. Without treatment, the infection can spread to the fat and muscle surrounding the eye socket. A new report suggests the infection might be linked to COVID-19.

A doctor has warned that the severe skin infection around the eye may represent an unusual complication of COVID-19.

Doctor Vinícius Almeida Carvalho, from the state University of Londrina, Brazil, is one of many health professionals who believe the facial infection is linked to the virus.

In a report, published in the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, Doctor Carvalho referred to the case of a COVID-19 patient who reported painful swelling around the eye.

The patient was referred to the doctor’s craniofacial surgery department after suffering painful, progressive swelling around his left orbital area.

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The 28-year-old claims he developed mild COVID-19 symptoms two weeks prior to the incident, including fatigue and a loss of smell.

It wasn’t until he developed a headache and swelling around the eye that he decided to seek medical help.

Shortly after arriving at his local emergency department, the patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 and sinusitis.

Despite taking antibiotics and other medications for sinusitis, the facial pain and swelling worsened.

By the time he was seen by Doctor Carvalho’s department, the swelling had caused the eye to shut tightly.

A computed tomography scan later revealed an accumulation of fluid was putting pressure on the eyeball.

The patient was diagnosed with cellulitis – a severe infection under the skin – believed to have spread from the sinuses to the orbital area.

Doctor Carvalho and his colleague performed urgent surgery, creating a small incision around the infected area to drain the collection of fluid and pus. The swelling around the eye decreased soon after the procedure.

The findings suggest that COVID-19 may contribute to a sinus infection, with the potential to spread to the areas surrounding the eye.

Doctor Carvalho said: “It is not clear whether COVID-19 is a contributing factor to the pathogenesis [development] in these cases.”

Previous reports have described similar occurrences, with some describing congestion, tearing and pain around the eyes following a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Other reported ocular symptoms in patients with COVID-19 have included dry eyes, blurred vision, and foreign body sensations.

Symptoms of sinusitis:

According to the Health Site, some warning signs of sinusitis to look out for include:

  • Discoloured or greenish nasal discharge
  • Acute frontal headaches
  • Pain in the teeth
  • Persistent cough
  • Unexplained Fever
  • Nasal Stuffiness or congestion.

Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through the mouth, according to the NHS.

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