Saturday, June 24

More symptoms from COVID

Finding clumps of hair in the shower drain or stuck on your hairbrush is startling. However, if you've recently had COVID-19, this upsetting hair loss is probably not a coincidence. 

The phenomenon, which is a result of the global pandemic, continues to catch patients off guard. However, Harvard researchers concur with national statistics showing a sizeable number of virus-infected individuals exhibit high strand-shedding.

Along with symptoms like exhaustion, brain fog, and shortness of breath, thinning hair can be a sign of a COVID bout or a less well-known sign of long-term COVID. According to Dr. Deborah Scott, co-director of the Brigham and Women's Hospital's hair loss clinic, some patients are even conspicuously losing hair as a result of dealing with the pandemic's ongoing mental and emotional stress.

It literally makes the situation worse. You have COVID-related illness first, then hair loss, according to Dr. Scott. "Several patients who had lost up to 30% of their hair came to me in tears. Most of them, I believe, were shocked to find that it was connected to COVID.


Signs on the scalp that a doctor should examine
Even if the shedding of hair waxes and wanes naturally, other symptoms of the scalp should make you visit a doctor. Harvard specialists say these include

Itching or burning, which can also indicate an inflammatory scalp condition, may be a sign of ongoing hair loss, especially six months or more after a COVID-19 infection or another physical or emotional stressor. There may also be lacklustre regrowth more obvious in women.

COVID-related hair loss has received more attention in the research that has been published in the last two years. According to a study from 2021 that was published in The Lancet, 22% of patients with the virus who were hospitalised experienced excessive hair loss within six months of being released. In contrast, a 2020 survey of approximately 1,600 COVID survivors revealed that more than 25% experienced unexpected hair loss after healing.

Women probably pay more attention to it than men do, if only because our hair is usually longer and fuller. According to Dr. Scott, "if you're losing a lot of long hair, it's more obvious than if you're losing a lot of short hair."

However, COVID-19 is not the only illness that causes hair to thin. It is merely the most recent identified cause of the long-known medical condition known as telogen effluvium, or TE. This occurs when extreme physical or emotional stress throws off our body's natural cycle of hair growth.

TE can wreak havoc on our manes for months longer. It typically appears two to four months after a shock to the system, such as surgery, a high temperature, pharmaceutical use, or illness.

According to Dr. Rachel Reynolds, interim chief of the dermatology department at the Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, "for reasons we cannot fully understand, the physiological or emotional stress on the body triggers this hair shedding process." According to her, 10% of hairs are typically in the shedding (telogen) phase at any given moment, but following one of these stresses, shedding can increase by three or four times.

More symptoms from COVID

Treatment for patience

Regrowth occurs gradually, usually taking six to twelve months to restore your hair to its previous state. Your hair will regrow with time, according to Dr. Scott. In the end, the majority of people only want to know that.

Harvard scientists suggest the following strategies to hasten and encourage regeneration in the interim:

Examine over-the-counter remedies. Topical minoxidil (Rogaine) can increase blood flow to hair follicles.

Avoid using harsh hairstyles. Avoid tying your hair up in a tight ponytail or vigorously brushing it. Avoid using chemical straighteners, peroxide, and hair dye in the same manner. New strands are delicate, according to Dr. Scott. "You need to be very gentle with them."

Cut your hair. While cutting layers into your hair to integrate rich and uneven regions may seem paradoxical, you'll feel more satisfied as your hair fills in.

Check the nutritional levels. Ask your doctor to check your levels of iron, vitamin D, and thyroid because any deficiency might make hair shedding worse. However, until a deficit is discovered, taking supplements is unlikely to stop hair loss.

Increase your protein intake. Hair health can be improved by eating a balanced diet that includes multiple servings of foods high in protein each day.

Avoid "hair growth" pills. Supplement labels for collagen and biotin frequently make the claim that the products help stop hair loss or encourage growth. Research, however, contradicts those assertions, according to Dr. Scott. Additionally, certain lab test values may be affected by excessive biotin levels.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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