Long Covid patients could experience hair loss and greying – expert
Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus
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IN THE years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, those affected have reported a range of different symptoms. And now as we are continuing to learn more about long Covid, it seems the way it can impact people is still evolving. Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to an expert about two differences a portion of patients have noticed regarding their hair.
Hair loss can be a devastating condition for some and it is one complication of long Covid that has been officially recognised for quite a while.
However, some people might notice more grey hairs – or more “stubborn” greys – after their initial Covid infection.
Hair transplant surgeon at the Mittal Hair Clinic, Doctor Manish Mittal, explained more.
“In addition to hair loss, we have also seen hair greying exacerbated by Covid.
“While there is no medical evidence to suggest that Covid has directly caused grey hair, the stress caused by the pandemic may have sped up the process in some people.
“The stress of the lockdowns would have created ‘fight or flight responses’ in many people, releasing a hormone called norepinephrine that causes hair to go grey.
“The hair follicles themselves also turn grey, which is why it may feel more stubborn to dye.
“If you’re suffering from grey hair and want to dye it away, make sure you use products free of sulphur and ammonia, as these chemicals are known to cause hair loss.
“Natural alternatives such as henna are becoming increasingly popular, but at present these only come in the colour of amber.”
Long Covid, or post-Covid syndrome, refers to symptoms that last beyond the 12 weeks following the initial infection.
It is thought around two million people in the UK are currently living with it.
Well known symptoms include fatigue, brain fog and chest pain or tightness.
Hair loss has also been acknowledged by many as a side effect,
Dr Mittal continued: “Covid has played havoc with our bodies, and our hair is no exception, with many people reporting temporary hair loss that can last for months,” he said.
“This hair loss may not present itself until weeks or months after the infection, so many sufferers may not even realise there is a link.
“Shedding of the hair is common after a fever or illness, as the stress of the illness can cause a phenomenon known as telogen effluvium, which triggers some hair cells to prematurely stop growing and fall out.
“At the same time, you also lose the hairs that have naturally come to the end of their life cycle, which can then leave you with visible hair loss.
“It can result in handfuls of hair coming out when you shower or brush your hair.
“It is important to remember that any hair loss experienced as a result of Covid will be temporary, but has been known to last up to six to nine months.”
Other long Covid symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of smell
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus, earaches
- Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
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