The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant healthcare crisis we have faced in a generation and our understanding of the virus is constantly expanding. The virus is known to affect the respiratory system, but it also has a few surprising effects on the body you might not be aware of.
Some people are claiming the COVID outbreak has caused or accelerated their hair loss. So, can the virus really impact hair loss? Below, we’ll look at the link between the virus and hair loss and what could be causing the issue.
Is hair loss a side effect of the virus?
There have been several reports of patients suffering hair loss after they have beaten the virus. The American Actress, Alyssa Milano, has recently revealed she is experiencing clumps of hair loss as a result of COVID-19. Classing herself as a ‘long-hauler’, she has warned her fans to wear masks to protect others experiencing the same devastating effects.
Long-haulers are patients who have recovered from COVID-19, but they still experience symptoms months after. But can it really lead to hair loss? It certainly isn’t one of the main symptoms of the virus, although it has been listed as an issue on the COVID-19 Symptom Study app. It has over 400,000 users and hair loss has been mentioned as a side effect by numerous patients.
So, while it may not officially be a symptom, researchers are looking into the connection between Coronavirus and hair loss.
Why could Coronavirus cause hair loss?
The main reason some patients could be experiencing hair loss as a result of COVID-19, is because of the stress placed on the body. You’ll often see hair loss is a symptom of many chronic illnesses.
The virus is known to be particularly hard on the body. The stress caused while fighting the illness can lead to the hair shifting into its resting phase earlier than it usually would. Then, after a time the hair will shift to its shedding stage, resulting in a lot more hair being shed at one time.
This type of hair loss is officially known as telogen effluvium. The positive thing about it is that it is typically only temporary. Once the stress of the illness has passed, the hair will start to recover and regrow. It will usually take six to twelve months for the hair to get back to normal without any form of treatment.
What treatments are available?
While hair loss relating to COVID-19 is only temporary, it can understandably be distressing for patients. If you want the hair to grow back quicker, or to reduce the amount of hair shed, there are treatments available.
A hair specialist can prescribe temporary hair loss treatments such as topical Minoxidil. This will help to slow down the rate of hair loss, as well as encourage new hair growth. However, before starting any form of treatment, it’s important to establish the true cause.
There are different types of hair loss so yours may not necessarily be caused by the coronavirus. Determining the cause will help you to seek the most effective treatment option.