It can be a worrying time when you begin to experience hair loss after surviving Covid-19, especially when it’s the last thing you expected. But don’t worry – losing your hair is not necessarily a permanent side effect of being ill with coronavirus, and there are some proactive steps that you can take to restore your healthy locks.
Long-term side effects from COVID-19 infections have led to various terrible symptoms, including loss of taste and smell, fatigue, and brain fog. Hair loss is identified as a frequent sign. Although this side effect can be the most frightening, it’s a temporary occurrence in most cases.
What is the cause of the loss of hair?
Patients suffering from hair loss due to SARS-CoV-2 infection might observe hair clumps falling out in their daily combings or bathing in the shower. This phenomenon is called telogen effluvium.
About 90 percent of the hair on our heads is growing, called anagen. Around 10 percent of hairs are in the resting phase, also known as Telogen. The scalps rest; anagen lasts for about three years. After this, hairs transform into Telogen. The process can last from two to six months. If Telogen has hairs on it, it is taken out of their hair follicles. Hairs that are born from anagen are then replaced. The cycle of growth continues.
How long will hair loss last?
It’s good to know that most cases of telogen effluvium will be gone in 3 to 6 months when the additional hairs that were prematurely transformed to Telogen have gone away. Perng says this characteristic healing occurs following an event that triggers the condition, such as COVID-19.
After time has passed, the hairs gradually return to normal. Telogen effluvium is not a cause for the person to lose hair follicles. Although hair might not develop, the hair follicles are still present and will grow back eventually.
The treatment of a condition such as hair loss requires time and perseverance. “The best thing providers can do is assure patients that this is a self-limited condition and that their hair will grow back,” Perng says.
Patients are given the tools to gauge their condition and track their improvement at home. For instance, patients may be required to take the test for 60 seconds and then collect hairs in a pile to assess how much hair they’re losing daily. Over time, patients can determine if their health is improving.
Perng says that any hair loss could be a significant emotional stressor that, on its own, can cause hair loss if not properly managed. It’s perfectly normal to be upset; Perng says that empowering patients to track their changes at home and conveying the importance of managing stress is essential for a speedy recovery.
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