How A Respiratory Illness Can Be Detected Through Your Skin

Various medical illnesses and conditions in the human body may manifest in ways that you least expect them to. For instance, if you have hormonal imbalances, your skin may break out into acne. Similarly, some gastrointestinal diseases may also result in skin-related symptoms. In fact, the skin can offer many insights into the overall health of the body. Sometimes, a respiratory illness may also be detected through your skin. 

In case you already have a respiratory illness or any other disease, it is important to seek medical help promptly. If you are worried about the costs of treatment, you can shop around for policies that offer pre-existing disease for health insurance coverage. This way, you can reduce your financial burden to a certain extent. 

That said, it can always help to be aware of the symptoms of respiratory illness that are visible on your skin. Let’s take a closer look at these details. 

What is a Respiratory Illness?

A respiratory illness is a disease that affects the lungs and the respiratory tract. It may be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Depending on the area of the respiratory system that is affected, you may experience symptoms of varying intensity, ranging from cough and chills to difficulty breathing and pain in the chest. 

Common Skin-Related Symptoms of Respiratory Illness

To ensure that a respiratory illness is treated in a timely manner, you need to look out for the different symptoms that may accompany the disease. Some symptoms may even be skin-related issues. Since these symptoms are easily visible, keeping an eye out for them can help you seek medical help at the earliest. 

Here are some such common skin symptoms that may be indicative of a respiratory illness. 

  • Cool Skin with a Clammy Texture

With a respiratory illness, you may find yourself breathing in a shallow yet quick manner. This may lead to frequent and consistent perspiration, leaving the skin cool and clammy to the touch. If these symptoms persist, visit your doctor and let them know you need help. 

  • Colour Changes

Respiratory illnesses adversely affect the body’s ability to receive and transmit oxygen to all the organs. Reduced oxygen levels may cause colour changes on the skin surrounding the mouth and the lips. If you have a respiratory issue, you may notice the skin in these areas turning blue or pale grey. This condition is known as cyanosis and needs to be treated by a medical professional. 

  • Itchy or Scaly Rashes

You may also notice itchy and scaly rashes on your skin. Known as dermatomyositis, this condition may affect the areas exposed to the sun, and it could be indicative of some respiratory trouble in the body. If you notice such rashes frequently, it is best to seek immediate medical care instead of ignoring the issue. 

  • Nail Thickening

Sometimes, a respiratory illness may also result in nail thickening or nail clubbing. This could cause the nails to change their shape and colour. Sometimes, the nails may also become soggy and brittle. If you notice any of these symptoms, ensure that you visit a medical practitioner and get a full body checkup done. 

  • Red or Purple Raised Bumps 

A specific lung condition called sarcoidosis can cause reddish or purple bumps on the skin. Although these bumps can occur on any part of the body, they are most commonly found around the ankles, calves and other areas of the lower legs. Sometimes, you may also find such sores and bumps on your nose, cheeks and ears. 

  • Herpes Labialis

This is also a skin condition that presents as a rash on the skin and the mucous membranes. Such rashes may generally occur in the areas around the lips, and when left untreated, they may grow into painful blisters. 

  • Easy and Unexplained Bruising

Undetected or unrated respiratory illness puts the body under a great deal of stress. This increases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. As a result, you may develop Cushing’s Syndrome, which may present as bruising in different parts of the body. If you frequently notice bruises on your skin and you can’t explain how they occurred, you may need to investigate further. 


Being aware of the skin-related symptoms that could indicate a respiratory illness can help you diagnose any serious conditions in a timely manner. However, if you have neglected the symptoms for a while now, chances are that you may already have developed a respiratory illness that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

To cover the costs of these treatments conveniently, you can consider buying health insurance for pre-existing diseases. This type of insurance offers coverage for certain pre-existing conditions. However, the premiums for such insurance plans tend to be higher, on account of the increased risks. So, weigh the costs and benefits before you make an informed decision.