WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It may take some time to recover from the coronavirus, but once you feel like you’re better, there may be a new obstacle to overcome. Two to three months later, you could see a significant amount of hair loss.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the stress and fever that any illness can bring to the body can cause this. The association states that getting sick can force more hair into the shedding phase.
“When people have extreme stress on their body, the hair quits cycling, and those that are caught in this phase — called the telogen phase — end up losing their hair,” said Dr. Austin Baeth, UnityPoint Health in Iowa.
Chasity Kuffler got COVID-19 in July. After weeks of dealing with a fever and stress that came with the virus, she finally felt better. Then her hair began to fall out.
“My daughter, she’s like, ‘Mom, are you good?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ and she’s like, there’s always a lot of hair in the trash can in the bathroom after you shower,” Kuffler said. “You feel water going down your back, and it wasn’t water. It was like clumps of hair.”
Shortly after her daughter pointed it out, she started tracking the amount she was losing. “I filled up a gallon baggie after like five days of brushing my hair,” Kuffler said. “I think I lost about 65-70% of my hair.”
She said her bald spots were bad enough that she shaved her hair and got extensions. “My boy had longer hair than I did,” she said. It’s something Wichita hairstylist Rachel Branting said she’s seen more often in her clients as well.
“Most of my clients that have had COVID have come in three to four months after, and there is a dramatic change in the hair density,” she said. “For some people, hair is really important to them. They feel more confident with it. So, when you see people lose a huge part of that, it really affects them.”
Doctors expect the shedding will last six months to a year, and then the hair should grow back. The advice from hairstylists is to take vitamins that help your hair grow, avoid coloring or using heat on your hair, find things to keep stress levels low, and if it is bad enough, check with either a dermatologist or hairstylist for options.
Kuffler said she also found a support group on Facebook that talks about hair loss and COVID. She said many people have helpful tips as well. “You are not by yourself. It is a thing,” she said. The biggest thing to remember is it will take time.