Hair Loss in Covid-19 Patients
As COVID-19 made its way around the globe at lightning speed, we quickly realized there was a lot to learn about this virus. From how the virus transmits to how it affects our bodies, all the way down to who is most at risk, we have discovered a plethora of information in a relatively short amount of time. We now also know that symptoms such as fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing and muscle aches can be indicative of infection, but there is still a lot that remains unknown when it comes to symptoms and the aftermath of the virus. One of the most surprising of these symptoms may be the correlation between COVID-19 and hair loss.
As of August 2020, approximately 23 million people have tested positive for the novel Coronavirus globally. While around 15 million of those infected have since recovered, at least 1,000 of these people from 38 different countries have reported hair loss as an unexpected side effect after recovering from the virus. Although this number is relatively low, it is believed that many others who are currently or have previously recovered from COVID have also experienced this phenomenon without recognizing the connection between the two. So, is it a coincidence or is COVID responsible for hair loss?
Covid 19 & Rapid Hair Loss – The Connection
According to experts at the American Academy of Dermatology, COVID patients are suffering from a hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium occurs in response to a traumatic situation, stress, high fever, extreme weight loss or illness—all of which are also commonly associated with COVID. With this condition, the body responds to the event (in this case, COVID) by switching as many as 50% of the hair follicles into the shedding portion of the hair cycle. For comparison, in a healthy individual, this number is typically around 10% and a person sheds around 50 to 100 hairs per day. With telogen effluvium, however, the extreme hair loss is not immediately noticeable until around 3 to 5 months after the initial trigger when a person begins shedding hundreds of hairs per day.
While it can be devastating for those who have already gone through the experience of a COVID diagnosis to lose their hair, it is important to note that in the vast majority of cases in both men and women, this type of hair loss is temporary in nature and in the vast majority of cases the hair will regrow within six to nine months. Additional steps like eating a healthy diet and finding ways to reduce stress are also helpful in combating post COVID hair loss.
If you are struggling with hair loss and thinning hair, whether it is temporary or long term, it can be helpful to discuss your concerns with a trained hair loss treatment specialist near you. Whether you live in the San Francisco bay area, the Boston, Massachusetts, or somewhere in between, there are a number of affordable and effective solutions for men and women of all hair types which can help until your own hair grows back.