CORONAVIRUS AND HAIR LOSS: UNDERSTANDING THE CONNECTION

The world is right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which is caused by being infected by SARS-CoV-2. This SARS-CoV-2 causes the COVID-19 disease. The Coronavirus is a deadly infectious disease that can cause death and leave a string of infections in its wake if not discovered early. Even after the recovery from Coronavirus, the BDNF Elisa test can pick up Coronavirus antibodies in the body to show that a person has once suffered from COVID-19.

According to www.bosterbio.com, COVID-19 patients experience a common range of symptoms, and they include;

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of ability to taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches and pain

Recently, CDC has gotten incessant distress reports of hair loss after months of recovery from COVID-19 and has since gone into investigations to know why this is happening.

What Research Says

Did you suffer from COVID-19 and now experiencing hair loss? Do not panic! Here is why you might be losing lots of hair.

Due to the lots of reports of hair loss after suffering from COVID-19, the frequency of this occurrence in a large population is yet to be verified. A recent study of late symptoms of Coronavirus was carried out in a small group of 63 people. Out of the 58 persons who participated in the study, 14 persons reported hair loss. It was discovered that the average interval between this late onset of symptoms and the hair loss was about 58.6 days. After a few days, five persons no longer suffered hair loss, but the other nine were still suffering hair loss until they were called to be interviewed.

How could Coronavirus cause hair loss?

Coronavirus causes lots of physical and emotional stress to the body. Hair loss is one way the body reacts to extreme stress, and COVID-19 patients go through terrible stress from quarantine to fighting the disease.

However, a condition known as Telogen effluvium (TE) is majorly the reason for hair loss after having suffered from COVID- 19. People who suffer from this condition, called TE, send in reports on sudden hair loss. Their hair falls out in large quantity while brushing or showering. TE affects less than half of the scalp of its patients and is notice 2-3 months after a severe health problem that triggers it. However, it is not a life-long problem as it lasts for just 6-9 months and its patients report that the lost hair grows back to normal density and length.

You might ask, how is this related to the coronavirus disease? TE is usually triggered by a severe ailment that causes a high fever, and this is one symptom of Coronavirus. So it is absolutely normal to experience severe hair loss after having an ailment that caused you high fever.

The Mechanism of Telogen Effluvium

The process of hair growth has varying phases. The telogen phase, which is also known as the resting phase, is activated when a body stressor causes a considerable amount of hair to cease its growth. When hair growth gets into this stage, TE occurs.

At this resting phase, hair growth ceases for about 2-3 months and later on falls off from the scalp to make way for new hair. Hence the long period reported by recovered Coronavirus patients before regrowth of hair.

Other causes of hair loss

  • Androgenic alopecia (this is hereditary hair loss)
  • Hormonal changes due to menopause, pregnancy, or thyroid problems
  • Conditions such as scalp ringworm, hair-pulling disorder, etc.
  • Hair grooming practices that stress the hair, such as tight weaves and harsh chemical treatments
  • Nutritional deficiencies such as iron deficiency
  • Medications used to treat hypertension, cancer, etc.
  • Chemotherapy

What you can do about your hair loss?

In the case of TE, after you have suffered from coronavirus disease, all you have to do is wait it out. The hair grows back afterward, so you have nothing to fear. While waiting for your stronger and healthier new growth, ensure that you do the following

  • Avoid hair grooming methods that pull on your hair
  • Avoid chemical treatments that irritate your hair. TE phase is not the best time to apply hair relaxers, dyes, and gels. They might worsen your hair condition.
  • Notify your doctor as they will be in the best position to prescribe the right drugs to aid your hair growth.
  • Eat healthier
  • Stay hydrated
  • Exercise a lot more.

Conclusion

Having known that the stressors your body releases during your battle with COVID-19 can cause hair loss, you need not panic anymore. Just ensure you do what you can to prevent further hair loss or hair damage.

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