Post-covid hair fall: What can you do?
August, 7 2021 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
Covid has wreaked havoc all over the world, upended our lives, forced us to stay indoors, people have lost their jobs and incomes, and it’s not over yet. A majority of people when get infected by Covid get better within a few weeks. However, for some, it may have long-term health consequences. Research says Covid can impact our heart, lungs, and even the brain. The pandemic had a profound impact on people’s mental health, causing an increased level of anxiety, stress, and even depression.
Besides, most Covid patients are experiencing post-Covid hair loss, causing them to worry and anxiety. A small study conducted last year found that almost 66% of Covid patients experience hair loss.
Here is why it is happening and what we can do about it. Hair loss can be due to inadequate nutrition, fever during Covid, stress, anxiety, and post-Covid inflammation. The main culprit behind Covid-related hair loss is telogen effluvium or diffuse hair fall. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair fall that occurs after a stressful life event, illness, or from a sudden shock to the body.
The sudden stress caused by Covid to the body pushes a large amount of hair into its resting phase, which means that it will stop growing and eventually fall off. However, the good news is that this type of hair loss is temporary, and the hair starts growing back when the stress period is over. In post-Covid patients, the hair usually will start growing back in 3-6 months. This type of hair loss, which is now being seen in Covid patients usually, happens post-childbirth or after any surgery or illness.
If post-Covid hair fall is making you worried, here are a few things you can do:
The first thing is to eat healthily and have a nutritious diet. Hairs are made of protein, and we need an adequate amount in our diet for healthy hair. Nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, vitamins C, D, and Biotin (vitamin B7) are essential for hair growth and for keeping them healthy. Post-Covid, the nutrition deficiencies during sickness may have induced hair loss. So, people should include foods like eggs, whole grains, spinach, green leafy vegetables, shellfish, beans, nuts, and seeds in their diet. You should keep your body sufficiently hydrated, which means 7-8 glasses of water in a day. Some amount of water also comes from fruits like watermelon, or you can drink coconut water.
Secondly, those who smoke or drink should stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Smoking and drinking constrict our blood vessels, which means less blood flow to various parts of the body, including your hair follicles. It results in important nutrients not reaching our hair follicles. Practicing restraint when it comes to smoking and drinking can help in post-Covid hair fall and help regrowth.
Thirdly, exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is bad for our body in general and also for our skin and hair. It has to do with blood circulation as well, and essential nutrients and oxygen reaching our hair follicles. Exercise helps with blood flow and stimulates hair growth. Even 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three times a week can help nourish our follicles and improve our health. If people are inclined to do strength training, play a sport, or do yoga, then it will be good for the body and for the hair as well.
The important thing to remember about post-covid hair fall is if it doesn’t stop within a few months, you should visit a doctor. There could be cases where hair fall becomes chronic, especially in people prone to genetic hair loss. This type of hair loss needs to be treated on time. Either way, if you are a Covid patient and if your hair loss is troubling you, it is always a good idea to consult a doctor. They can recommend you based on your personal needs and fitness levels, helping you arrest your hair fall and get healthier.