Covid update: Could your hair loss signal COVID-19? What the research says

Coronavirus: Previous sufferers can catch new strain says expert

The sense of optimism following the vaccine seems all but lost now thanks to a new variant of coronavirus that was discovered in Kent. The Christmas bubble has now been burst and broad swathes of the country have been placed under tier 4 – a de facto lockdown. Adding to the grim state of affairs, the UK saw its highest daily increase in cases since the pandemic began yesterday.

Amid this precarious climate, the general public must respond to possible COVID-19 symptoms by self-isolating.

In addition to the main symptoms of coronavirus, which include a new, continuous cough and a loss of smell, there have been growing reports that COVID-19 may cause hair loss.

Because the findings have been confined to case studies, it is currently unknown how often it occurs in the larger population.

A November 2020 study investigated late-onset symptoms of COVID-19 in a small group of 63 participants.

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For the 58 participants included in the analysis, 14 (24.1 percent) reported hair loss.

In this study, the average time from COVID-19 symptom onset to noticeable hair loss was 58.6 days.

Hair loss resolved in five of the 14 participants.

However, nine participants were still experiencing hair loss at the time they were interviewed.

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It’s possible that hair loss may also be associated with severe COVID-19.

However, the extent to which this is the case and the biological mechanism behind it is unclear at this moment.

A May 2020 study evaluated 175 people hospitalised with COVID-19. Researchers observed that a high amount of participants (67 percent) had androgenetic alopecia.

Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women whereby hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples.

It’s important to note that there was no control group in the study.

A July 2020 study compared balding patterns in 336 men hospitalised for COVID-19 and 1,605 men hospitalised without COVID-19.

It found that men with the most pronounced pattern of baldness were more likely to test positive for COVID-19.

What’s more, a November 2020 population study surveyed 43,565 people on topics like amount of hair loss, underlying health conditions, and COVID-19 status or outcome.

It was found that hair loss was independently associated with more severe COVID-19 illness.

How to respond to symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

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