COVID-19 has brought about many symptoms and side effects. But there’s one that isn’t being discussed enough: hair loss. Many survivors are reporting symptoms of hair loss. Some of them have even brought a bag containing their lost hair. This is being reported globally.
So, if you are experiencing hair loss, you are not alone. Visits to the dermatologist and trichologists have increased due to this complaint. Read on to see how you can solve it yourself.
How common is hair loss in COVID-19 survivors?
As the world health community continues to learn more about the COVID-19 and everything related to it, the addition of these new findings has prompted them to look into this matter as well. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) doesn’t recognize hair loss as a sequel to COVID-19.
The website of this health organization contains many symptoms of infection from coronavirus, starting from the cardinal symptoms mentioned above and the rare symptoms that can manifest in some individuals. Hair loss is not on this list of signs and symptoms.
CDC says that this list does not contain all the possible signs and symptoms that coronavirus can cause. According to CDC, this list gets updated with new findings coming along with new research. The same is the stance of the World Health Organization (WHO): There is still no conclusive research about the loss of hair in COVID-19 survivors and this topic needs some good research.
Well, the research is pouring in. The Lancet is a world-renowned health journal. It conducted a study to determine the presence e of hair loss in COVID-19 survivors. The results of that study concluded that 22% of COVID-19 survivors reported hair loss.
Similarly, another survey by Survivor Corps ended with more than one-third of the survivors reports hair loss as one of the symptoms or only symptom that they were suffering even after recovery from COVID-19.
So, hair loss in COVID-19 is a reality. Right. But what is the scientific explanation for that?
What are the causes of COVID-19 hair loss?
Research teams are on it. It is hard to understand the connection between loss of hair and COVID-19. One favorite explanation is that coronavirus causes Telogen effluvium. Well, coronavirus does not cause it directly. Telogen Effluvium is caused by the ongoing emotional and mental trauma caused by this pandemic.
It is important to understand that any stressful factor, be it COVID infection or anything else, can cause Telogen Effluvium. Age, genetics, heredity, different diseases, and the medicines used in the treatment of these diseases can cause hair loss. Common medicines that can induce Telogen Effluvium include antidepressants, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, epilepsy drugs, acne formulations, and cancer-fighting medications.
Moreover, anti-malarial drugs which, at the start of the pandemic, were considered effective also cause hair loss. Telogen Effluvium increases the shedding of hair at least three to six times that of normal hair loss.
Since hair is not as essential for the body as are the vital organs such as the heart and brain. Therefore, whenever your body suffers from trauma or stress, it automatically diverts the blood supply from superficial structures to vital organs.
So, hair loss is caused by stress and immense physical and psychological trauma associated with COVID-19. Losing hair further adds insult to the injury. It results in the start of a vicious circle.
Though dealing with stress is part of daily life, the stress caused by this pandemic is way too much. It takes a heavy toll on the physical, mental and psychological health of the individuals who suffer from it. Hair loss is the manifestation of this heavy toll.
What should you do about it?
If you are suffering from hair loss due to COVID-19 and this is probably the reason why you’re reading this blog, here are the preventive steps that you can take to stop or reduce hair loss.
• Consume a nutritious diet:
Focus on your daily habits and the content of your meals. Costume a healthy diet that is enriched with protein and important vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin C, etc. Quit smoking. It’s not only bad for your lungs, but it also damages your hair.
• Adopt relaxation strategies:
There are various relaxation strategies that you can adopt to reduce your emotional stress. Meditation is one of the highly recommended techniques in this regard. You should do meditation, even if it’s just for a few mins. It would help you in building a habit of practicing it daily.
Spend some time contemplating. Do things that make you feel happy. Those can include book reading, watching movies, or jogging. Minimize the use of social media.
• Work on your general health:
Complete recovery from COVID-19 can take months. During this period, it is essential that you focus on improving your general health. Get optimum sleep and do exercise. If there is an underlying medical condition, get it treated by specialist doctors.
• Follow best haircare practices:
Give special attention to your hair. Use the hair products suitable for your hair. Comb your hair carefully. Apart from this, many people suffering from hair loss opt to use permanent hair restoration options. Hair restoration should be the last option. And it should be done after consultation with a dermatologist.
It is important to note that hair loss caused by COVID-19 is temporary. Your hair will grow back. Time that is taken by the hair to grow fully differs from person to person. It also depends on your general health. A healthy lifestyle with special care for your hair will help in the earlier restoration of your hair.