Hair Loss and Long COVID
Hair loss has been reported by a number of Long Haulers. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hair loss may be a potential long-term effect of COVID-19. A recent study found that 24% of participants with COVID-19 reported hair loss. The average time between onset of symptoms and reported hair loss was approximately 58 days.
Why does COVID-19 cause hair loss?
The medical term for hair shedding after an illness is known as telogen effluvium (TE). Individuals with this condition report the loss of large clumps of hair. TE typically occurs 2 to 3 months after a trigger and may last up to 9 months.
It is important to note that there are different growth phases for hair. TE typically occurs when a stressor causes hair to stop growing and enter into the “resting phase.” In this phase, hair rests for 2 to 3 months before shedding occurs to allow for new hair growth. This accounts for why TE occurs so long after a triggering event, such as fever or stress from COVID-19.
One of the most significant triggers of TE is an acute illness with fever. Since fever is a common symptom of COVID-19, individuals may be more susceptible to TE.
Emotional stress may also trigger temporary hair loss. Given the circumstances of the pandemic, feeling stressed and anxious may be completely normal.
What can I do to stop hair loss?
Although it can be very concerning to see clumps of hair fall out, it is important to find ways to relieve your stress. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, “only when the stress ends will the excessive hair shedding stop.”
If you believe your hair loss is not caused by stress or fever, please consult a dermatologist.
What are some alternative at home remedies for hair loss?
*Remember to consult a doctor before attempting any at-home treatments.
Excessive tugging on hair while brushing
Wear loose hairstyles and avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails and braids
Hair treatments may damage hair
Minoxidil can help regrow hair or slow hair loss. Minoxidil can be found in stores as shampoo, liquid, or foam
What can we do to accelerate research for Long COVID?
Research on treatments for Long COVID has been limited so far. Further investigation is needed to help the 2 million people in America suffering from Long COVID. Sign this petition to help raise awareness about Long COVID.
“Can COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss?” American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/covid-19.
Crouch, Michelle. “Losing Your Hair Can Be a Consequence of Coronavirus.” AARP, 9 Feb. 2021, www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/hair-loss-covid.html.
“Long-Term Effects of COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html.
Miyazato, Yusuke, et al. “Prolonged and Late-Onset Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019.” Open Forum Infectious Diseases, vol. 7, no. 11, 2020, doi:10.1093/ofid/ofaa507.
Seladi-Schulman, Jill. “What We Know About Hair Loss and COVID-19.” Healthline, 22 Dec. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-and-hair-loss#research.