According To Doctors Covid
Hair loss is a lesser-known effect, but perhaps not wholly uncommon, symptom of COVID-19. Studies have shown that among long-haul symptoms like fatigue, coughs and muscle aches, hair loss has been reported in large numbers too.
According to doctors, COVID-19 patients experience hair loss a month after recovering from the disease. In some cases, hair loss is observed during the infection period too.
A growing number of coronavirus patients, including Malaika Arora took to social media to reveal she had been dealing with “intense hair fall post recovery.”
While some COVID-19 patients did not face extreme hair loss, for some it was severe.
Why does that happen?
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 experience hair fall because the physical and emotional stress that accompanies a case of COVID-19 can lead to a reversible hair loss condition called Telogen Effluvium.
What is Telogen Effluvium?
/8are There Dietary Remedies Or Supplementations To Be Followed
For good hair health and preventing hair loss, one of the most commonly vouched for tips is to follow a good diet and lifestyle. While it may be true and work to an extent, with Telogen effluvium or sudden onset hair loss, diet alone may not cut it.
Experts suggest that if a recovered patient continues to exhibit hair loss and extreme hair fall problems months on after having a good healing diet, a doctor’s advice should be considered. For someone with extreme issues, a biotin and amino acids rich diet would be the most helpful. There are also many wonderful supplements and additives which could be added to one’s diet to deal with the drastic side-effect. Of course, that is something that should be considered post checking in with a doctor, preferably a dermatologist. Recovered COVID patients, must diligently focus on inculcating a diet full of nutrient groups and antioxidants, which could strengthen immunity and deal with particular symptoms of concern.
Apart from the dietary recommendations, doctors, in general also recommend bringing in the following changes to deal and manage the stressful complication in a better manner:
-Use of mild, non-chemical shampoos and hair care products.
-Refraining from oiling or conditioning the scalp too much.
-Using a wide-toothed comb that doesn’t irritate the hair follicles
-Nourishing the scalp with a quality diet and lifestyle habits.
What To Do About Hair Loss
While hair loss can affect your self-confidence and self-image, experts urge people not to be embarrassed or try to handle it on their own. Instead, reach out to a health professional. A primary care doctor or dermatologist can rule out other causes like medications, a lack of nutrients, or hormone imbalances, and they can track your daily sleep, exercise, and nutrition habits to see if improvements in those areas could help.
Hogan says you can also talk with your doctor to see if a high-protein diet, more vitamin D, or supplements like biotin would help. Beyond that, she says doctors can help you find out if your stress has triggered anxiety or depression that needs treatment. Sometimes, she says, it also just helps for patients to hear from a medical professional that while hair loss can become a chronic problem, this type usually clears up.
âMost of the time, it does improve,â Hogan says. âI think itâs important to tell patients that in most cases, this is not a permanent hair disorder. It will likely get better within 4 to 6 months. That reassurance and knowledge often does help.â
âThis type of hair loss does tend to improve over time,â Poland agrees. âThat can be variable — some may see all their hair return, and for others it may be more spotty. But usually, as the medical illness resolves, hair tends to regrow.â
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How Do I Know If My Skin Rash Is Covid
If youre concerned about any skin symptoms, check them against the photos in this article. Then you can consult your GP or dermatologist via a telehealth appointment for further advice.
You might be infectious. Get tested and self-isolate until you receive your test results. If you feel unwell, your GP or COVID clinic will be able to coordinate your care.
Women Still Deal With Bias In Clinical Spaces
Hong Danh Ngo, MD, board-certified physician at national telemedicine primary care practice Eden Health, believes that doctors arent dismissing COVID-19-related hair loss on purpose. Doctors are trained to be patient-centric, he says, but theyre often limited by time, environment, and resources in the real world. With the spike in cases, physicians or providers may not have enough time to really address these issues, says Dr. Ngo.
However, theres a long history of womenespecially women of colorbeing intimidated, dismissed, and judged in medical settings. And when youre used to having bad experiences with doctors or not being believed, that can make it less likely for someone to seek care. You have to wonder if were ignoring or marginalizing symptomshow is this related to the ongoing marginalization, misdiagnosis, and underdiagnosis of women in health care? says Dr. Barber.
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Temporary Hair Loss Is Normal After A Fever Or Illness
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. A few months after having a high fever or recovering from an illness, many people see noticeable hair loss.
While many people think of this as hair loss, its actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hairs than normal enter the shedding phase of the hair growth lifecycle at the same time. A fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase.
Most people see noticeable hair shedding two to three months after having a fever or illness. Handfuls of hair can come out when you shower or brush your hair. This hair shedding can last for six to nine months before it stops. Most people then see their hair start to look normal again and stop shedding.
Telogen effluvium causes noticeable hair shedding
Telogen effluvium causes noticeable hair shedding, but thats all you should experience. If you have a rash, itchy scalp, or burning, something other than telogen effluvium is likely causing your hair loss, and its time to see a dermatologist.
How To Combat Hair Fall Post Covid
If hair fall is alarming, it is advisable to consult a good dermatologist for hair fall treatments. If the hair loss is accompanied by itching or flakiness in the scalp, then go to a hair specialist for specific treatments. The dermatologists at the Esthetic Clinics recommend exercising, de-stressing, and eating a well-balanced diet to combat hair fall. Here are some tips suggested by Dr. Kapoor to get rid of hair fall:
Say goodbye to stress: Relax, take a deep breath, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and let the recovery take its course. The sooner you say goodbye to stress the soon hair shedding with stop. Include few minutes of mediation and breathing exercises in the daily schedule.
Switch to a rainbow diet: Include loads of colourful seasonal vegetables and fruits such as spinach, lettuce, oranges, figs, and capsicum in your daily diet.
Make an exercise routine: Try a mix of cardio, strength training, and yoga. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important.
Avoid hair styling productsand treatments: Follow a gentle hair care routine and use products that suit your hair type.
Take supplements: Iron and Vitamin D supplements may help but take them after consulting your doctor for restoring hair health.
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Can You Reverse The Effects Of Hair Loss
The good news is, this disturbing hair loss can leave as easily as it arrived. Experts say this type of hair loss should resolve on its own within six;months, as the normal hair cycle resumes.
Dr. Belkin weighs in: Human hair shafts each have individual clocks that determine growth phase, resting phase, and shedding, such that at any given time there is a relatively stable number of hairs. If shedding remains high or density remains low past six;months, we may do further work-up to find out what the persistent stimulus is.
Though a traumatic event shifts hairs toward telogen simultaneously, eventually, they will resume their independent cycles.;
Here’s what to do to help your hair grow back and recover from hair loss.
1. Treat your hair and scalp very gently.
Avoid harsh products and scalp scrubs.
If your hair and scalp is in a sensitive place, you don’t want to be aggressive with scrubs and treatment and tools. Just like if your skin was having a rough patch, this wouldn’t be the time to try aggressive peels.
2. Use low heat settings on your hair styling tools.
Use;your blow dryer or thermal styling tools on the lowest heat settings. Or, if possible, stop using your styling or heating tools altogether.
Extreme heat can damage hair, and the healthier hair is, the better shape it will be to start its recovery.
3. Leave your hair down.
4. Eat healthy food.
5. Make sure you get enough Vitamin D.
Communities Of Color Face High Rates Of Stress
When I started reporting for this story in December, I reached out to several women in the COVID-19 long-hauler support groups and noticed a trend: All of them were white. I cast a wider net for my interviewees because of this, and I found a more diverse group of women outside of these Facebook communities. When I asked Dr. Barber why she thinks these groups are so white even though reports show that communities of color have been hit harder by the virus, she points out that discussions around hair are racialized.
If youre talking about women who chemically straighten their hair or experience loss or breakage more regularly, it might be talked about in a different way, she says. Because of the way hair is racially politicized, Id expect that Black women would be talking about hair in a different way than white women.
What comes next?
Unfortunately, a lot of the recommendations for managing TE arent an option for those most impacted by the virus. With TE, theres not really a ton you can do. You can exercise, eat more greens, but its really a waiting game, says Timmons. You have to lower your stress levels in order to see some results.
Myas excessive hair loss eventually came to an end earlier this year. In late December, Nicole received test results that revealed her thyroid wasnt functioning properly, and after her doctor gave her a prescription to manage the thyroid issue, her hair cycle returned to normal.
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/8is This The Same As Regular Hair Fall
Usually, hair fall is something that may not be avoided completely and happens to everyone. Routinely, a person may lose upto 100 strands of hair a day, which can happen due to multiple reasons and genetic make-up. Stress, poor diet, conditions, the hair products you use, water quality etc. as well as age can all lead to hair fall. However, what COVID patients experience is a lot different and drastically intense. Post-COVID hair fall is categorized as ‘telogen effluvium’ and isn’t exactly hair fall, but hair shedding. Fever or any illness can actually force more hairs into the shedding phase.
Telogen effluvium which is primarily resultant of stress and related inflammation is termed as a sudden onset of hair loss- meaning that this can strike even those who are young and healthy, and not at a generalized risk for hair fall. Some doctors also go on to categorize this as a kind of a ‘shock’ the body sustains while suffering from fever and COVID symptoms for a relatively long period . This could be a reason as to why so many people who have had COVID, more so during the second wave have recorded excessive hair fall as a concerning side-effect.
Experts suggest that Telogen effluvium, in comparison to regular hair fall can be quite severe. So to speak, if a person tends to lose upto 100 hair strands a day, the condition fueled by COVID inflammation can make a person lose upto 300-400 hair strands a day.
The Hair Growth Cycle
There are three phases in the hair follicle growth cycle: anagen , catagen and telogen . Generally speaking, about 90% of hairs are in anagen, with 5% in catagen and 5% in shedding in telogen, says Dr. Khetarpal. Most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs each day.
In telogen effluvium, the proportion of hair follicles in the telogen phase increases significantly, up to 50%, leading to mass shedding. Theres generally a two- to three-month lag between the stressful event and the onset of hair loss.
This is why were seeing these patients now, several weeks after COVID-19 symptoms resolve. Telogen effluvium isnt a symptom of COVID-19 as much as it is a consequence of the infection.
This hair loss can last for up to six to nine months. Generally, most cases resolve on their own, unless its related to medication or a nutritional deficiency.
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What Is Causing Hair Loss In Those Exposed To Coronavirus
It’s definitely possible that this kind of hair loss is related to psychological stress as well as to physical stress.
Either type of stress can cause more hairs than usual to simultaneously shift from a growth phase into a resting phase, Dr. Belkin adds.;
The resting phase lasts about 3 months and culminates in shedding of the hair shaft, so it’s only months after the stress that this shift is noticed.
Belkin reveals, I have seen people recently with this sudden type of hair loss who also have not been diagnosed with COVID or hospitalized, and I chalk it up to the early quarantine psychological stress of March.
While a lot of people may see;these effects after suffering from COVID-19, its also possible they are suffering hair loss due to the stress and life-altering aspects of the pandemic itself even if they never caught the virus!
I have not noticed a difference between COVID-associated telogen effluvium and typical telogen effluvium, Dr. Belkin says. ;It seems to me that the timing is typical for telogen effluvium, which is about 3-5 months after a precipitating event.
Coronavirus can cause many of the factors that individually might precipitate hair loss, including psychological stressors like prolonged fear, death of a family member, or loss of a job; and physical stressors like severe illness, infection, high fevers, hospitalization, weight loss, and/or new medications.
A Less Intensive Approach
Although it can still take months to see a significant difference, many people have had similar results from a combination of supplements, thickening shampoos and illusion-creating haircuts.
After her husband noticed a few bald spots on the back of her head early in the pandemic, Martyna Szabadi, a 34-year-old business consultant who hasnt had Covid-19, experimented with products said to promote hair growth, including various scalp scrubs, a hair serum from the Ordinary and a daily drink of flax seed water. Nothing helped until she began using RevitaLash Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner and taking four capsules of Nutrafol core supplement for women.
After half a year of this combination, I finally have the hair issue under control, Ms. Szabadi said.
Nutrafol supplements also seemed to help Ms. Hill get her hair back on track after she began taking them in July, leaving her with a slimmer part and new hair growth around the crown. It was a boom year for the company, with revenue increasing 60 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Giorgos Tsetis, the chief executive and a founder of the company.
Mr. Tsetis said that 80 percent of the companys sales increase can be attributed to its two core formulas for women: Nutrafol Women and Womens Balance. They include ingredients like vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc and biotin, the last of which has become widely known as a hair growth supplement despite the fact that dermatologists disagree over its efficacy.
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Stress Can Cause Uninfected To Lose Hair
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“Here’s the thing about telogen effluvium: You don’t have to be infected to get it, Marmon said. An emotional event such as a death in the family or the loss of a job can also prompt the condition.
Marmon coauthored a December report in the;Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology;that found a 400 percent uptick in telogen effluvium in the dermatology clinics at two New York City hospitals between March 1 and Aug. 31, compared to a similar period before the pandemic.
The report found that people of color were the hardest hit, particularly the Hispanic community. That’s in line with the disproportionately high mortality rate from COVID-19 in that community, Marmon said.
Could The Covid 19 Vaccine Worsen Autoimmune Disease
Its possible there could be some minor flares of autoimmune disease activity for a few days or few weeks in some patients. This will need to be studied. Its also possible it wont! So stay tuned for more information as time goes by. We dont know how common this would be or which types of diseases are more likely to be affected than others. In the rare event that a persons autoimmune disease does flare, most experts feel that the activity will settle again with treatments or simply with time. Some autoimmune diseases may be more likely to flare after vaccination than others. That does not mean a patient should not get vaccinated, only that they will need to be more closely monitored. Well know more over time about whether or not autoimmune diseases have the potential to flare with COVID 19 vaccination.
Given how common autoimmune disease is in the population, it should be pointed out that there were likely some clinical trial participants among the 35,000 patients who received the vaccines in the clinical trials who actually had some background autoimmune disease. To date, we have no indication of new onset autoimmune disease among vaccine trial participants.
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