A 54-year-old Coronavirus survivor in the U.S., who spent a month in the hospital, noticed her hair was falling out after recovery. But she is not alone, there are several patients who complained about losing hair while recovering from COVID-19.
The New Jersey woman, Theresa Cabrera, who was sedated, intubated and on ventilator support after contracting the disease in the month of May noticed that her hair is falling out. It was the time when she was discharged from the hospital. She said, "I was freaking out... Now, when I make a ponytail, it's less than a quarter of what it used to be. It's horrible."
Another 30-year-old Essex woman, Grace Dudley, who spent weeks in a hospital, also faced similar issues. She has warned that hair loss could be a potential unknown side-effect. The COVID-19 survivor said, "A lot of people are losing their hair and not understanding why it's happening. Some people don't get it much, but for me, it was a matter of 'it's all going to go.'"
Hair Loss and Coronavirus
The novel Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 disease also triggers several health issues in the patients. As per some studies, those who recovered from the disease had discussed problems related to the lungs and heart. But now, a string of patients has reported unusual hair loss, during or after recovery from the virus infection.
Many members of Survivor Corps, a Facebook support group, have become a victim of the virus and complained about losing hair months after recovering from the wrath of the SARS-CoV-2. One of the group members asked on the page, "Any extreme hair loss months after infection?" and shared her own experience stating that "I had COVID-19 in March, started having huge hair loss/turnover in June. I have a ridiculous amount of hair, so no balding or anything like that, but I'm losing a LOT."
Research on COVID-19 Patients
In a letter published in JAMA, scientists said that they collected data from 143 Coronavirus patients who recovered from the illness. The researchers found that among them, 44 percent said they had a worsened quality of life. They also noticed that many recovered patients report lingering cough, joint pain, fatigue, the difficulty of breathing, and chest pain but no report on hair loss.
Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security had explained that issues like hair loss are a "well-described phenomenon" that happens if there was any "physiological stress on the body."
As per the doctors, hair loss can be linked to telogen effluvium, a temporary condition where people experience excessive hair fall after a stressful event. Dr. Esther Freeman, director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, said if COVID-19 patients notice that they are rapidly losing hair during recovery, "it can be extremely emotionally distressing."
So, What to Do?
Losing so much hair at one time could be stressful. So, in such cases, doctors advise people to consume proper nutrition, specifically foods which have iron and vitamin D.
If Coronavirus survivors experience hair loss with other symptoms such as burning sensation in the scalp, they are advised to visit a dermatologist as early as possible.