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Long Covid is now linked with hair loss in women

Mar 16, 2021 | Blog

Almost a year on since the UK went into lockdown and we’re starting to see the results of studies on Long Covid. As well as the publicised fatigue, shortness of breath, etc… a surprising side-effect has been repeated complaints of hair loss, especially among women.

How many people are suffering hair loss after Covid?

A recent study showed almost a quarter of people who contract Covid-19 are suffering loss of hair and discovering severe bald patches in the six months following infection. This was a group of 359 out of a total 1655 people but notably featured a higher proportion of women than men. The effects of Long Covid can also affect those who had no/minimal symptoms during their initial infection.

Does the NHS recognise hair loss as a Covid symptom?

The study that called out hair loss as a symptom was done in Wuhan, China. Hair loss is now listed as a Covid symptom in the US but the NHS does not currently recognise losing your hair as a symptom of Long Covid. It could be that the NHS are waiting for guidance from the World Health Organization before adding it to the list, the WHO are currently investigating the topic themselves.

Is it definitely Covid-19 infection causing the hair loss?

While infection cannot be totally ruled out, alopecia is often caused by stress and this could be causing the baldness rather than the illness itself. Google searches related to hair loss are up around 8% over the past year and even those of us who haven’t been infected are still living through a pandemic so it’s no surprise really that more of us are thinning out or getting patchy up top.

How can we protect against Covid-related hair loss?

If the study results are correct in linking Covid-19 to baldness, the best thing we can do is what we’ve been doing for the past year. Wearing an actually protective FFP2/N95 mask, washing our hands regularly and maintaining our distance in social interactions.

If the baldness is actually a result of stress rather than infection, the best thing we can do is look after our mental health. This is different for everyone; whether it’s working out, talking to friends or treating yourself now and then. You should take the time to focus on your mental wellbeing and do what makes you happy.

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