Is Hair Loss a Symptom of COVID-19?

cvid-19 and hair loss

Does Covid-19 cause hair loss?

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. However, recent reports have suggested that there are other symptoms, including hair loss. 

Covid-19 patients have reported losing clumps of hair during and after they contracted the virus. Some cases have been so extreme that it has left damaging phycological effects on the patients. There seems to be a consistent pattern whereby the excess hair shedding occurs during the recovery stages of the virus. 

Despite these reports, scientists are unable to confirm if hair loss is an actual symptom of Covid-19, as the virus is still very new, and we know so little about it. However, there is a condition known as telogen effluvium, which is a type of baldness often caused by severe illness, stress or significant life changes/events. It is a temporary form of hair loss.

While it’s normal to shed as many as 150 hairs each day, telogen effluvium occurs when there is a big increase in that number of lost hairs a day. Normally, only around 10% of your hair is in the shedding phase, but when you are experiencing telogen effluvium, that increases to around three times that amount, and even more in some cases. 


What is triggering the excess shedding?

Hair loss is not listed as one of the official symptoms of Covid-19, so what exactly is triggering this shedding, and what is the connection with hair loss and Covid-19?  

Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a disruption or change to the hair. This disruption is commonly due to a number of physical stresses to the body, which include:

  • high fever (like the flu or Covid-19)
  • illness associated with weight loss
  • significant stress
  • crash dieting
  • pregnancy/childbirth
  • certain medications

It can be months after an illness or a stressful event when you actually start to notice the access hair shedding. An illness, in particular, can severely disrupt the natural hair cycle, causing more shedding. Some people therefore experience hair loss some time after falling ill, which would explain why people are suffering from extreme hair shedding during their recovery from Covid-19.

As we stated earlier, this type of hair loss is not permanent, and typically no treatment is needed. The hair normally grows back once the trigger has gone away. 

So, if you are suffering from severe hair shedding right after illness, or during a stressful time in your life, then fear hot, because the hair will likely grow back. If it doesn't grow back, then you should seek further advice and treatments for the problem.

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