COVID-19 has taught us many things, including to expect the unexpected. The COVID-19 strain was a new virus, hence the difficulty in curbing the initial rise in patients and fatalities.
However, with time, the world has understood how the virus works and what to expect if you catch the virus. Of all the things, survivors losing hair was unexpected. But when you look at the reason, losing hair was not really all that unexpected.
Hair Loss among many COVID-19 Survivors
As the pandemic rages on, many survivors are noticing different things. From recovery to new symptoms, the pandemic is bringing forward multitudes of unexpected things.
According to a study, many COVID-19 survivors have noticed a loss of hair. However, this happens after the said person has recovered from the disease.
Furthermore, more studies reveal that hair loss is common among those who are termed as “long-haulers,” which is a term for those patients who have lingering COVID-19 symptoms even after recovery.
Why do COVID-19 survivors keep losing hair?
Losing hair is common. However, many COVID-19 survivors have noticed a lot of hair loss. Initially, it was debated if the said phenomenon was a long-term effect of the diseases. Upon investigation, the reason turned out to be quite simple.
A common symptom of COVID-19 is fever. With fever, it is quite normal to lose some hair after recovering. The phenomenon of losing hair after recovery is actually called hair shedding, telogen effluvium being the medical term for the same.
What’s more is that after recovering from fever, more than normal hair enter telogen effluvium, which leads to hair loss. Furthermore, this does not happen right after you recover. Hair shedding happens about six months after you recover.
Once it starts, you may notice chunks of hair coming to lose while you wash or brush your hair. This could potentially continue for six to nine months.
Noticeable hair loss is common after recovering from fever or severe illness.
COVID-19 and hair loss: Something more?
Although it is expected that COVID-19 is to blame for hair loss, there could be another reason. Stress has been known as the primary reason for losing hair.
As the pandemic is relatively new, it is yet to be determined if it is the real reason for the loss of hair. The studies have not established clearly that COVID-19 directly caused hair loss.
With that said, it is thought that the patients may be losing hair for other reasons, like stress.
Being diagnosed with the disease could lead to a lot of emotional stress, which could cause the loss of hair. When the body goes through shock, the body gets into survival mode. Continuing with only essential bodily functions, all other aspects of the body shut down. As hair growth is not an essential body function, you end up losing hair.
Doctors usually come to the conclusion that you have stress-induced telogen effluvium by a process of elimination. The doctors would look into your symptoms, to check the issues. Furthermore, the doctors may even ask for a blood test to rule out any other issue.
In cases of stress-induced hair loss, the doctors have found that hair loss or shedding happens after the stressful event has passed. In this case, as well, hair loss or hair shedding does not happen when you are going through the situation.
In some cases, the doctors may even ask you to retrace your steps to see if there was something in the past that could have led to such hair loss.
Does the hair loss stop?
Most of the survivors feel that the hair loss due to COVID-19 is a long-term effect. However, like any other type of illness, hair loss begins to recede and stop. Although you could see much hair loss for a while, it would stop after a point in time.
That said, during the period of hair shedding, you should try to manage your stress. There’s a possibility that more stress would lead to a worsening of the situation, thereby leading to more hair loss.
Coping with hair loss
If you are concerned about your hair, then there’s nothing to worry about. Telogen effluvium is temporary, which means your hair will eventually grow back. However, the one thing to keep in mind is that hair grows back slowly.
So, once you start losing hair, the hair fall wound stops after a while. While your hair will grow, hair grows slowly. Hair growth does not have a quick fix, so you’d have to wait it out.
Although there are hair supplements that can help you, most of these aren’t vetted by studies and science. So, instead of looking for external means, you should focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.