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. A grandmother describes how she lost nearly 60 percent of her hair due to her COVID-19 infection.
“I was going to my doctors to get my first lot of bloods to check my iron levels and the rest because my iron levels had dropped,” Enid had said.
“My practice nurse was quite shocked when she saw me.
“She asked does it come out voluntarily.
“I just put my hand up – by then my hair was waist-length – and ran my hand through my hair and I got another handful. She said, ‘I think you better speak to a doctor’.
“The doctor phoned me that afternoon and that was when it was confirmed it was an effect of long covid.”
She added: “My hair has gone really really thin. Yes, it still covers my scalp and things, but I have lost an awful lot of hair.”
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, androgenic alopecia present in the majority of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 was further investigated.
The study noted: “Previously, we reported a possible association between male patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and androgenetic alopecia (AGA); however, the study was limited by its population size of 41 men.
“In this communication, we present additional data from patients with confirmed COVID-19 admitted due to severity criteria (mainly low peripheral oxygen saturation) to three tertiary hospitals in Madrid, Spain.
“The patients were randomly examined by dermatologists who were assisting with the overwhelming number of admitted patients.”
Researchers observed that a high number of participants (67 percent) had androgenetic alopecia.
Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in both men and women where hair is lost in a well-defined pattern, beginning above both temples.
Enid said: “Lots of people said they were experiencing hair loss, but nobody told them it was associated with COVID-19. It wasn’t highlighted in the media or anything that it was an effect of COVID-19.”
Enid added: “I’m hoping it’s starting to get back to normal. My doctor said it would be about two to three months.
“He said when I’d had COVID-19, because I’d had blood problems all my blood had gone to my vital organs and apparently your skin and your hair is the last to receive blood.
“Your hair follicles start to die off which is where the hair loss comes from and the hair follicles have to regenerate.”
Alongside Enid’s hair loss, asthma was another symptom she endured and also had a number of issues stemming from coronavirus.
After she was left unable to bear weight on one leg one night, she was later found to have multiple blood clots in her lungs, requiring her to have nightly injections in her stomach over a three-week period.
Enid said: “It’s taken me a long time to get back on my feet. It’s only recently in the last couple of weeks that I have been able to go out and do my shopping and things – my husband was doing my shopping.
“It knocked me. It really frightened me, normally I’m not a person who gives in easily.”
Additional reporting by Anna Lewis