The COVID-19 Pandemic has exposed us to a virus that can cause a wide range of clinical symptoms in persons who catch it. Most of the common presenting signs and symptoms are fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste sensations, body aches, etc. Do you want to know whether your COVID-19 caused your hair loss?
These are the acute symptoms that start as soon as the infection starts. However, there are many more long-term symptoms that persist in COVID-19 survivors long after they have recovered from the acute infection.
Is COVID-19 Related to Hair Loss?
A multitude of long-term complications has been reported. A research paper published in JAMA stated that 44% of COVID-19 survivors reported that they had decreased quality of life even after recovery.
Most of the survivors reported persistence of at least one long-term compilation, particularly fatigue, and shortness of breath.
To make the scenario slightly more dismal, doctors are now seeing the patients who are presenting with complaints of hair loss months after their recovery from covid infection. This unusual finding after recovering from the disease had left the healthcare professionals baffled.
Meanwhile, it still has not been listed as a consequence of COVID-19 by representative health bodies namely the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Though the numbers reported are pretty low, many more people than generally thought may be suffering from this phenomenon. Many cases may remain unreported.
Now, studies are being conducted worldwide to have an idea about the actual incidence and prevalence of hair loss in COVID-19 survivors.
A survey was conducted by Survivor Corps in which survivors were asked about the symptoms that they still were experiencing. Dr. Natalie Lambert interpreted the results as follows:
More than 27% of the respondents to the survey experienced hair loss even months after recovery from COVID-19. These results indicated that hair loss was much more common in COVID-19 survivors than documented so far.
What Caused COVID-19 Hair Loss?
Experts are still trying to understand the causes of hair loss in COVID-19 patients. This is still a matter of debate as are the many other features of this disease. Doctors have come up with different explanations for this hair loss.
Before they decide to fully agree on the exact mechanism of hair loss, here is what they do agree on: Doctors believe that this hair loss is caused by stress to the body caused by high fever and other symptoms.
They believe that this hair loss may not be caused directly by the virus. Generally, many factors contribute to hair loss. Old age, gender, genetics, stress, and other medical conditions can cause hair loss. Certain medications can also cause hair loss.
There can be different reasons for hair loss in different patients of COVID-19. The extent and nature of the hair fall may also differ in these patients. Yet, the doctors including expert dermatologists have a consensus that hair loss in COVID-19 is due to Telogen Effluvium (TE).
Telogen Effluvium is temporary hair loss caused by any factor such as physical or psychological stress, medical disease, and illness. This phenomenon causes hair to fall all over the head. TE is a poorly understood condition requiring further research and studies to understand.
Hair undergoes different growth phases during its cycles, Telogen Effluvium (TE) occurs when a large amount of hair stops growing and enters the resting (telogen) phase. All of this occurs mainly because of a stressful event.
Another possible explanation for this can be as follows: As you experience a stressful event, your body combats it by diverting the blood supply towards the vital organs such as the brain, lungs, heart, and liver.
As a result, the blood supply to superficial structures such as hair decreases. Decreased blood supply leads to decreased nutrition for hair follicles. Due to this decreased nutrition, your hair starts shedding from their root. This ultimately causes significant hair loss.
Will Your Hair Return?
You just lost your hair, it’s stressful. It damages your self-esteem and confidence. We get it.
The good news is that your hair would return. A bit frustrating fact is that it will take some time for your hair to come back. Usually, your hair should take four to six months to grow back.
This period can be short in some and can prolong in others. Sometimes, it can even take 18 months for your hair to return to its normal pattern.
What Can You Do About Hair Loss?
The most important step in dealing with COVID-19 hair loss is to keep calm. As stated earlier, this hair loss is temporary in most cases. Therefore, you shouldn't get panicked about it. Little patience with some special care for your hair will bring your hair back soon.
You should consult with your dermatologist. Sometimes, assurance from an expert is the best thing that you need. Apart from this, there are certain things that you can do:
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Enrich your meals with nutritious foods. Include vitamins in your diet. A nutritious food enriched with minerals and vitamins will help your hair grow and gain strength. A balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and fat would speed up the regrowing of your hair.
- Wash your hair carefully. This simple step can help you keep more of your hair. A short haircut is one step forward in this regard. It would alleviate the pulling and traction in the follicles and will reduce the amount of hair falling out.
- Watch out for any medical conditions causing hair loss. Get yourself checked for hormonal disturbances, hypothyroidism, and iron deficiency. These medical conditions exacerbate your hair loss. If you're suffering from these conditions, treating them would reduce the amount of hair loss. It will also speed up the recovery process.
- Avoid being around people who smoke. Smoking is not only injurious to health It can also damage your hair badly.
If you're experiencing hair fall, consult your dermatologist. Hair loss caused by COVID-19 is mostly temporary. All you will need would be to remain healthy and adopt special care: And your hair will grow back. Take it easy! Stay healthy!
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