COVID-19 can cause dramatic hair loss

Pandemic stress can cause people to lose their hair, and a Maryland doctor wants to reassure people that it’s not permanent.

Pandemic stress can cause people to lose their hair, and a Maryland doctor wants to reassure people that it’s not permanent.

“COVID-19 infection can lead to a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium,” says Dr. Jamie Goldberg, a dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente’s South Baltimore Medical Center.

It is normal to lose 25, 50 or even 100 to 200 hairs per day. In telogen effluvium, the hair comes out in clumps.

But the condition is reversible, Goldberg said.



It is usually caused by a body going through some form of significant stress, such as an infection or illness, especially ones that cause a high fever or hospitalizations.

Another common example is childbirth, which can cause temporary hair loss that corrects itself over time.

“So when we talk about COVID-19 specifically, we don’t know exactly how the virus causes or causes hair loss,” Goldberg said.

“But we do think it has to do with our body’s immune response to the virus. This causes a lot of inflammation and that somehow affects the hair follicles and causes the hair to fall out in more amounts than normal,” Goldberg said.

There is usually a one to three month delay between the stress it causes and the impact of losing hair.

“Hair loss usually peaks about four months after the illness and tends to correct itself six to nine months after that,” Goldberg said.

It can take a whole year for the hair not only to stop falling out, but also to return to its previous thickness. Hair grows about 1 inch per month, so it will take some time to see any change even if the shedding has stopped.

“It just takes time and some patience for that to happen,” Goldberg said.

Telogen effluvium after COVID-19 usually causes no other symptoms other than hair loss. So Goldberg said to seek help for abnormal scalp conditions or if hair loss persists.

“If you notice other symptoms, such as itching, burning pain, if you notice shiny, smooth bald patches on your scalp, or hair loss that lasts more than nine to 12 months, that’s not typical of a telogen effluvium, and you definitely should. lead to a visit to your dermatologist,” Goldberg advised.

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