Covid-19 and hair loss

Joplin Area Coronavirus

JOPLIN, Mo. — Another long-lasting symptom showing up for covid-19 “long-haulers” is hair loss. A local covid-19 survivor hopes her hair starts coming back and a Freeman Health System dermatologist explains why it’s happening.

Sharon Boatwright, Pink Door Boutique employee and COVID-19 survivor, said, “I had the no-taste, no-smell”

Sharon Boatwright remembers all the symptoms of covid-19 when she had it in early November.

“I still have them, I can’t smell other than really strong smelling things.”

Her taste is starting to come back too, but there’s another symptom that has her taking notice.

“Even though I’ve used conditioners when I wash my hair, and I’ve put in spray conditioners, when I comb my hair, I’m getting a lot of hair in the comb when you comb the hair through.”

Freeman Health System Dermatologist Dr. Ahmed Badawi isn’t surprised.

Dr. Ahmed Badawi, Freeman Health System Dermatologist, “The phenomenon that’s happening after COVID is called Telogen Effluvium. It’s not specific or unique to COVID. It can happen after any major traumatic event, a major stressful event.”

Right now doctors believe hair should regrow, but time is the most important thing for that to happen. In the meantime, Lisa Nelson at the Pink Door Boutique has had around 10 to 15 covid-19 survivors reaching out and asking about wigs and other solutions.

Lisa Nelson, Pink Door Boutique Coordinator, said, “Around October, we started getting phone calls for ladies that were interested in seeing wigs and hair pieces and such, and they mentioned that it was due to their hair loss because of COVID.”

Nelson, too, had covid and — while she isn’t experiencing hair loss — she sees the surprise in patients who come see her for covid-19 hair loss solutions.

“Just the trauma of thinking I had COVID and I was extremely sick, they’re still trying to recover from the other side effects, so when they start seeing the hair, they’re just kinda like, what is going on?”

And, while time is the biggest factor in hair coming back, Dr. Badawi has a few other tips.

“Stress reduction as much as possible, eating a well-balanced healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, are all major factors that can contribute to the hair coming back to its normal density,” said Badawi.

Sharon’s about three months post-covid now, and thankful the hair loss likely won’t last forever.

“It brings me relief that it’s just a process that you have to go through after you’ve had the virus. And that it will eventually work out of your system and you’ll be good again,” said Boatwright

Dr. Badawi recommends patients tell their doctors about the hair loss to make sure there aren’t any other contributing issues. Hair loss can happen in a variety of ways, such as general thinning or clumps coming off in a brush.

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