You Can Get This COVID Symptom Without Having the Virus, Doctors Warn

Allie Hogan
·2 mins read

People with COVID have experienced a wide range of strange symptoms. From excessive hiccups to numbness and tingling, the virus manifests in surprising ways. And while COVID has, of course, been hardest on those who have had the virus, people who have not gotten sick have also been subject to the ripple effects of the pandemic. Doctors are now seeing the stress surrounding COVID trigger certain symptoms in people who haven't actually had the virus. One of the most common complaints: significant hair loss. Read on to find out more about the condition, and for other coronavirus complications, these are the Longest Lasting COVID Symptoms You Need to Know About.

According to The New York Times, doctors have reported that many patients are experiencing hair loss, which they believe is linked to COVID. The odd thing, however, is that this symptom is affecting people who have had COVID and those who haven't had the virus. Hair loss is a known complication of COVID that often occurs beyond the virus' lifespan in the body. A July survey from Survivor Corps found that 27 percent of people reported experiencing unusual hair loss. But recently, doctors have been seeing this phenomenon occur in people who never had COVID, and they think it's related to the stress that has come with the virus' effect on daily life.

"There are many, many stresses in many ways surrounding this pandemic, and we're still seeing hair loss because a lot of the stress hasn't gone away," Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, told The New York Times. Khetarpal said, before COVID, she would go weeks without seeing a patient with stress-related hair loss. Since COVID hit, Khetarpal said she now sees about 20 patients a week with this affliction, from parents working at home while teaching their kids to instructors anxiously planning online lessons.

Man with thinning hair
Man with thinning hair

Stress is a common cause of hair loss, as the Mayo Clinic notes. And stress-induced hair loss manifests in two different ways. Alopecia areata is when the immune system attacks hair follicles, Mohammad Jafferany, MD, told The New York Times. Doctors say they have seen a significant uptick in this kind of hair loss since COVID began.

The other type of hair loss is telogen effluvium. Sara Hogan, MD, told The New York Times that telogen effluvium generally begins a few months after a stressful experience, and can cause people to lose a considerable amount of hair. Hogan describes this condition as a "tripping of the hair growth system," where people are shedding more and growing less.

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If you are experiencing an unusual amount of hair loss, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. If your hair loss is related to stress, they may have solutions for anxiety relief. And for more likely coronavirus symptoms, These Are the 51 Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.