Covid-19, almost one in three patients lose a lot of hair after recovery

Covid-19, almost one in three patients lose a lot of hair after recovery

The loss is fortunately transitory. The data was reported during the congress of the Italian company Sidemast. There are still no peer reviewed studies but the phenomenon is also reported abroad

(photo: Pexels via Pixabay) Several patients recovered from the coronavirus could experience the persistence of some symptoms for a long time. They are the so-called long haulers, who suffer from forms of long Covid, of which there is already various evidence. Today new clues come from a group of Italian dermatologists, who add another symptom, fortunately transitory: the conspicuous loss of hair. "More than 30% of people who contract the Covid-19 infection report a copious loss of hair, made up of entire locks", said Bianca Maria Piraccini, professor at the University of Bologna during the 94th congress of Sidemast, the Italian Society of Medical, Surgical, Aesthetic Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

For now it is only a suspicion, even if the data are starting to accumulate. The Italian numbers, however, are in line with those reported by the media of other countries, for example in a recent article in the New York Times. The loss is temporary and usually not of the entire hair, as can happen with some anticancer treatments. Here's how it manifests itself and what it could be due to.

How important it is to report symptoms to the doctor

There are still no peer reviewed research on this topic, but only reports and surveys on patients who have had Covid-19 symptomatically and who in the follow-up after recovery indicate having had or have this symptom It is not the first time that a symptom associated with the coronavirus begins to be taken into consideration precisely on the basis of the data collected by doctors: this happens because Covid-19 is a completely new infection, so knowledge is built over time. A similar case involved chilblains on the toes of children, a symptom made known as early as mid-April 2020, for which research was then launched that confirmed this and other dermatological problems associated with the coronavirus. However, hair loss had not yet been discussed.

“In this case, the first reports - states Bianca Maria Piraccini - date back to June and came from all over the world. In Italy, in Bologna, we have created a task force, led by Dr. Michela Starace, who is coordinating scientists from all over the world to record all cases of hair loss after Covid-19 infection and find an explanation ".

A conspicuous but reversible loss

The problems, some dermatologists explain during the Sidemast congress, would manifest themselves once the patient has passed coronavirus positivity. The fall would lead to the loss of about 100-200 hairs per day with a phenomenon that in medical jargon is called acute telogen effluvium in which the patient complains of hair thinning, therefore a loss higher than the norm (and also to that which is observed naturally with the change of season), quite sudden, which is however reversible.

In most cases - about 9 out of 10 - the fall occurred 2 or 3 months after recovery. Among the hypotheses to explain the phenomenon the physical stress linked to the Covid-19 infection, especially in the most serious forms, therefore the hypo-oxygenation, the prolonged stay in bed, often hospitalized and in some cases intubated, the consequent weight loss and anticoronavirus therapies. In the event of hair loss resulting from Sars-Cov-2 infection, it is advisable to seek medical attention.

Other cases of hair loss

reported a US survey, which however is not a peer reviewed study, therefore also the sample of patients interviewed is not selected with the typical criteria of clinical research. In the text we read that a large number of patients continue to show some symptoms (the long haulers). In addition, out of about 1,500 healed participants, more than 400 reported unexplained hair loss. The data is yet to be investigated but provides a first signal of attention on this problem.

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