Why Some Doctors In China Have Darker Skin After Recovering From Coronavirus

Photo: Bejing Satellite TV
Why Some Doctors In China Have Darker Skin After Recovering From Coronavirus
Entertainment And News

Though scientists are learning more and more every day about coronavirus and how to treat it, this development is something that doctors may not have seen coming.

Doctors in China who have recovered from COVID-19 are experiencing an unexpected effect of the infection: Their skin is turning much darker, and the exact reason for this is still unknown.

What is happening to these doctors from Wuhan, and is it something we could start to see more often? Here's everything we know about the situation so far. 

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Two doctors In Wuhan are experiencing changes to their skin.

News reports claim that two 42-year-old doctors in Wuhan, Dr Yi Fan and Dr Hu Weifeng, have experienced changes to their skin after fighting the coronavirus. Both men now have darker skin after recovering from the virus. They were both diagnosed on January 18, and Dr. Yi's condition worsened to the point that he was on life support for 39 days, while Dr. Hu is still in bed, where he's been for the last 99 days. 

This could be because of a hormonal imbalance.

Reportedly, Chinese state media has said that the virus caused a hormonal imbalance in Dr. Yi and and Dr. Hu that in turn changed the color of their skin but they did not go into details on this particular hypothesis — and it's not the only guess that experts are making.

It could also be due to their treatment of the virus.

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According to a doctor who's been treating the men, Dr. Li Susheng, they were on an unnamed drug to treat the virus shortly after they were diagnosed which can cause skin darkening as a side effect. It's hard to say for sure that's what's going on here, especially without knowing what drug they were treated with. 

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The color change may be related to liver damage.

One of the more likely causes of the color change is because of they way COVID-19 has affected their livers. An infectious disease expect has explained that when their liver was impacted by the virus, iron that's normally stored there was sent out into their blood vessels, which could be responsible for the change in skin tone, especially in their faces.

The doctors have shared that the experience scared them. 

“When I first gained consciousness, especially after I got to know about my condition, I felt scared. I had nightmares often,” Dr Yi, who spent more than a month on ECMO, said.

He and Dr. Hu are both receiving mental health treatment as they continue to recover from the virus and experience these changes, though Dr. Hu's condition is said to be worse at this point. 

It's not expected to be permanent. 

Fortunately, it sounds like the skin color change is only temporary. Once the men have recovered entirely and their livers are functioning normally again, their skin is expected to go back to normal, too, although that has yet to have happened. It's not clear if these kinds of side effects have been reported anywhere else so far, but if it happened to these doctors, there's a chance that these kinds of side effects could be found in other coronavirus patients as well. 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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