When Paula Diaz contracted COVID, she expected to lose her sense of smell and taste but not her hair.
“I spent six days in the hospital being treated for the virus and several weeks after I came home, my hair started falling out in clumps,” said Paula, who added that she’s always had a beautiful, thick head of hair. “It was devastating,” she said.
Paula is just one of many to experience excessive hair loss as a post-COVID symptom, say specialists at Hackensack University Medical Center.
“The hair loss that occurs after COVID-19 infection occurs because of overactive inflammation in the body," explained dermatologist Alexis Young, M.D., who has seen many long haul patients with this problem. “The inflammation can cause a shift in the hair cycle.”
Hair loss after a COVID-19 infection typically begins anywhere from several weeks - to 3 months post infection - how long it lasts can vary from patient to patient but usually - 6 to 9 months . “Hair loss after a stressful situation is not unusual,” said Dr. Young. “People can experience hair loss after childbirth or a major surgery, and we’re now seeing the same results after COVID-19 infection in some people.”
One study found that among patients who had been hospitalized with COVID, 22% were dealing with hair loss months after being discharged. Last summer, the Institute of Trichologists (IoT) in the United Kingdom surveyed its members and found that 79% said they’d seen cases of “post-COVD hair loss” in their clinics.
Hackensack University Medical Center continues to treat more COVID positive patients than any other health system in New Jersey. The hospital’s COVID Recovery Center is now treating thousands of COVID-19 patients who continue to face lingering side effects requiring additional care. “Our commitment to treating COVID-19 patients doesn’t stop when people leave our hospitals,” said Laurie G. Jacobs, MD, Chair, Department of Internal Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine and Hackensack University Medical Center, and Medical Director, Hackensack Meridian Health COVID Recovery Center. “Our health care providers are here for these patients throughout their recovery and beyond.”
For more information or for an interview with one of our physicians and patients, please contact Mary McGeever, PR Manager, 551-795-1675 or [email protected].