Hair today, gone tomorrow. Unfortunately that is the sad truth for many patients during the coronavirus crisis. Statistics show 27% of COVID-19 patients recovering from the disease suffered prolonged hair loss as a result. It is one of the many lingering symptoms that face “long haulers,” people whose health woes last long after the actual disease is over.
A survey conducted among members of the Survivor Corp Facebook group, who share their experiences with long-term after effects of the virus, found many hapless victims lose their hair from the stress and trauma of battling COVID-19.
According to Today, doctors blame the hair loss on telogen effluvium, or temporary hair loss that usually happens after stress, illness, high fever, or extreme weight loss. People with this condition start to suffer hair loss three months after the illness or event that triggered it, noted Dr. Esther Freeman, director of the Dermatology COVID-19 registry that keeps track of COVID-19 cases that are dermatologically affected.
“If you’re recovering from COVID and then all of a sudden your hair starts to fall out, it can be extremely emotionally distressing,” she said, according to Today.
The strange part is doctors are seeing a lot more telogen effluvium in people who have not even been ill from the virus.
“COVID is a big stress,” said Dr. Marc Glashofer, a New Jersey-based hair loss expert who has seen an overall increase in cases in his practice, the Derm Group, in West Orange. He told Today he has had patients bring in a “bag of hair” they collected from the bathroom drain or hair brush.
According to USA Today, people can lose up to 50% of their hair from this condition. Experts do not know why some people develop telogen effluvium while others do not, but suspect a genetic predisposition is the cause.
The good news, Glashofer reports, is the hair loss is temporary and sufferers should see regrowth in a few weeks. Freeman said it is important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and manage stress, according to Today.
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