Hair Fall Due to Covid Infection and Covid Vaccine, What Should I Know?
COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. The most common symptoms include cough, fever, tiredness, and loss of taste/ smell. However, some effects are less discrete but equally concerning, and that includes hair loss.
Hair loss is the body’s common response to stress, including physical illness such as COVID-19. Hair fall after Covid-19 falls in the telogen effluvium category. Hair will regrow after telogen effluvium, and there are steps you can take to support hair regrowth.
Covid situation in Nepal
The national active Covid-19 caseload of Nepal climbed to 88,934 on January 25 as 9432 people tested positive for the infection in the past 24 hours. The latest reported number of infections carried the nationwide tally to 927,880 while the death toll reached 11,667 as eight new fatalities were recorded.
From the rate at which new cases have been rising, public health experts say Nepal is under a serious threat from two variants: Delta and Omicron.
The World Health Organisation has warned against calling Omicron “mild,” saying that while Omicron causes less severe disease than Delta, it remains a dangerous virus, particularly for those who are unvaccinated.
A recent sample study conducted by Nepal Public Health Laboratory has revealed that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 pandemic was found in 88% of the samples.
Hair Fall and Covid-19
Cases of telogen effluvium have grown over 400% since the beginning of the pandemic. While many people notice hair loss after recovering from a COVID-19 infection. More than 20% of people who are hospitalized with the infection lose hair in the 3 to 6 months after discharge.
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19. Experiencing hair loss in a few months after a high fever or illness recovery is common. Many people think of this as hair loss. However, it’s actually hair shedding. There’s a difference. More about this is in the description of telogen effluvium.
Losing hair after COVID vaccine
Many people suspect whether Covid-19 vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca are responsible for hair fall. However, studies haven’t provided a clear-cut answer, and researchers’ best answer is that hair fall may most likely be triggered by the physical stress that the virus puts on the human body. People also go through medication after infection, which raises the risk of telogen effluvium.
What Exactly is Telogen Effluvium
Telogen effluvium is the second-most common form of hair loss diagnosed by dermatologists. Thinning of hair on the scalp is usually the very first symptom. Telogen effluvium most often affects the top of the scalp.
According to Dermet NZ, n a normal healthy person’s scalp, about 85% of the hair follicles are actively growing hair (anagen hair) and about 15% are resting hair (telogen hair). A few hairs may also be in catagen. A hair follicle grows anagen hair for 4 years or so and rests for about 4 months. New anagen hair then begins to grow under the resting telogen hair and pushes it out.
Physical trauma, like being in an automobile accident, having blood loss, surgery, or going through a medical treatment might trigger telogen effluvium.
Note that, technically, people experience hair shedding in telogen effluvium, not hair loss. Our hair is always growing, and a portion of it is always shedding away. Because the rate of new hair growth is higher than the rate of shedding, no adverse change is noticed by most people. However, telogen effluvium causes more hair to go to the “ready for shedding” zone. As a result, your hairline seems to have been slowly but certainly thinning out.
Will I lose my hair for sure if I have Covid?
Most people recover from Covid quickly and with no grave complications. Hence, their bodies go through limited stress for a short amount of time. As such, this level of stress is not enough to trigger a noticeable hair loss.
However, those who go through moderate to severe complications because of Covid-19 may have a higher risk of experiencing hair shedding in the upcoming months.
People severely affected by Covid go through higher complications, high inflammation, and poor dietary routine during their illness. This is an ideal situation for telogen effluvium.
How long does COVID hair loss last
Telogen effluvium usually starts three months after the event. Hair appears thin, but you won’t go completely bald. Luckily, the condition is fully reversible. Once you are out of danger from the virus infection and start regaining health and immunity, your hair starts growing back after six months. Sometimes, the rate of shedding slows down but does not stop entirely.
How to treat hair fall triggered by Covid-19?
The hair fall caused by Covid is totally reversible in most cases. You may start noticing hair regrowth within six months. Nonetheless, there are a few things you may want to consider in order to speed up the regrowth.
Trying to stay relaxed and happy help. If you are going through stressful situations, this advice will sound too condescending and impractical. However, your health is as important as your problems, if not more. Take time to sit back, relax, and rewind. You’ll have your problems solved, you’ll figure it all out, grasshopper.
Furthermore, nutrient deficiency may also have combined with the infection to trigger hair loss. As such, you can speed up the hair regrowth process by taking foods rich in iron, protein, and Vitamin C like meat, eggs, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, and nuts. The amino acid lysine is also important for hair growth. Sources of lysine include meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Avoid harsh chemicals and excessive heat on hair and skin. Give yourself a scalp massage to encourage blood flow to the hair follicles. Quit smoking if you can.