Hair loss, a new problem for Covid-19 patients

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Juli Fisher, an American nurse, was infected with nCoV in March. She experienced most of the symptoms a Covid-19 patient had, but was surprised to see more and more hair loss after a few weeks of illness.

"I started to see every pinch of hair fall out in the shower. At first I thought the shampoo was of poor quality, but when the hair fell more and more, I knew my body had a problem," Fisher said.

She went to patient groups on Facebook, discovering that she was not the only Covid-19 patient with a hair problem. "When I learned that other people in the group also lost their hair, I realized this situation was related to nCoV," Fisher said.

Rachel Baum, living in New York, has had Covid-19 symptoms over the past 100 days. She also lost her hair.

"I had a lot of hair loss and thought the thyroid had a problem. But the endocrinologist measured the thyroid index okay. Therefore, hair loss can only be due to Covid-19, or age, or both." two factors, "recalls the 64-year-old. She bought three wigs to use in the near future.

Fisher and Baum are just two of the many Covid-19 patients who report hair loss. The link between hair loss and the disease that has killed more than 600,000 people is gradually being reported and recognized in recent studies.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair loss can be due to genetic factors, age, hormonal imbalance ... due to medication, stress. Experts say the majority of Covid-19 patients experience telogen effluvium - a temporary condition caused by physical or mental stress, high fever, illness, or weight loss.

Covid-19 patient was treated at a hospital in Brooklyn in March. Photo: NY TImes

Bệnh nhân Covid-19 được điều trị tại bệnh viện ở Brooklyn hồi tháng 3. Ảnh: NY TImes

If bald people only lose the frontal hair, or normal people lose 50 to 100 hairs a day, patients with TE-type hair loss will lose a large amount of hair throughout the head area.

"Hair's life cycle is divided into three phases. At the same time, 90% of the hair is in the development stage, 5% is resting, 10% is falling," says Dr. Sara Hogan, a clinical science lecturer. at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, said.

"TE-associated hair loss is associated with serious illness, autoimmune disorders, stroke or heart attack," said Gregory A. Poland, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic, a spokesman for the American Society of Infectious Diseases. "This kind of thing happens when people are really stressed out."

When a person is stressed or has a big shock, 50% of hair will "jump" from the developmental stage to the loss phase and it takes three to five months to finish this cycle. "Therefore, after about three to five months, patients with Covid-19 will begin to see hair loss, coinciding with the timeline from when the epidemic began to date."

Hogan said she anticipated that hair loss would occur at this time of the pandemic. She now accepts Covid-19 patients for the first time with hair loss each week.

"People are facing many health problems, income, I know this is not easy," she said. "The hair affects the appearance. Hair loss patients come to see me always in a state of sadness and anger."

Experts say it is difficult to know why one group of Covid-19 patients experienced hair loss while others did not. According to Hogan, this may be due to genetic factors.

Shilpi Khetarpal, a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, advises people with this condition to maintain a balanced diet, supplement with hair growth stimulating vitamins and better psychological control, instead of using hair growth medications..

Lê Hằng (Theo Web MD, USA Today)

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