Some COVID-19 patients who have had the infection several months ago are now experiencing hair loss out, and experts now explain the reason for such an occurrence.
A report from NPR indicates that hair fall out may appear alarming although it is actually a common reaction to extreme stress, be it physical like the coronavirus infection; or emotional -- resulting from this pandemic.
Given the number of people who have suffered from either physical or emotional stress due to COVID-19, it's not a surprise that there's a shoot-up in the number of people searching for 'hair loss' on Google.
In connection to this, a study which The Lancet published found that about 22 percent of COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in China reported experience of hair loss six months after.
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According to infectious disease specialist Dr. Aurora Pop-Vicas from the UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, this type of hair loss related to stress, officially named 'telogen effluvium,' may occur more frequently than thought.
She adds that people who had COVID-19 several months back could be experiencing it now since so many people are very much aware of the disease, including its symptoms.
In the past, an individual staying in bed with flu for four to five days observed clumps of hair falling out after three months from the illness. But there was no link between a clogged drain and hair fall, the expert explains.
Meanwhile, COVID Activity Rehabilitation Program's medical director Dr. Greg Vanichcakhorn at the Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic says, it is more precise to think of the occurrence as hair shedding.
Reason for Hair Loss
Basically, explains Vanichcakhorn, what's happening is when an individual is exposed to a so-called 'significant insult' like infection, or an ultra-stressful event, it can result in hair cells entering their dormant phase.
The hair is basically dead, and it can happen several months after the occurrence of such an insult. Therefore, probably, the reason an individual is going through post-COVID is that his body is still unfavorably reacting to what happened to it.
Family medicine physician at Santa Monica, California-based Providence Saint John's Health Centers Dr. David Cutler says hair goes through this cycle under ordinary circumstances, too.
He continues, it is a natural occurrence that hair follicles are going through episodes of rest and growth, and there and then, hair loss will take place.
According to Pop-Vicas, the difference in individuals who have telogen effluvium is that it occurs at once. Under normal conditions, roughly 10 percent of the hair is in a resting phase, the expert continues.
Five percent of the hair, on the other hand, is said to be in a shedding phase, and the rest undergoes a growth phase.
Other Reasons for Hair Fall Out
One cannot associate hair fall out only with long COVID symptoms. There are other reasons for such an occurrence, and medications like chemotherapy and aging are among them.
Sometimes, thyroid disease may cause hair loss too, as well as scalp problems and hormonal imbalances. It is vital to contact the primary care provider to help address the issue.
Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarapal advises people who are still noticing hair loss after six months, or if they have other symptoms like flaking, redness or itching. Those are indications that something else could be resulting from such an occurrence.
In August 2020, actress Alyssa Milano is seen on this Access YouTube video demonstrating the hair loss she experienced from COVID-19 even several months from recovery.
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