Coronavirus: The ‘major symptom’ to spot in your hair that lasts for weeks – new study

What is long Covid and what are the known symptoms?

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Without the intervention of the public health crisis of the past 18 months, it is usually normal to lose hair. People can lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, often without noticing. Hair loss is not usually anything to be worried about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition.

Some types of hair loss are permanent, like male and female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss usually runs in the family.

Other types of hair loss may be temporary. They can be caused by:

  • An illness
  • Stress
  • Cancer treatment
  • Weight loss
  • Iron deficiency.

Now, a new study saw researchers conduct a cross-sectional self-report survey of 530 eligible patients who had recovered from acute COVID-19 in April 2021.

Upon comparison of the health-related quality of life scores estimated by the survey between these participants with no symptoms and those suffering from long Covid, the study found a substantial disease burden caused by COVID-19.

The key examinations of the study saw the researchers calculate the characteristics of long symptoms in the paper.

In this study, 44 percent of the participants reported at least one symptom after four weeks passed since their COVID-19 symptoms began.

The most common symptom of long covid was reported to be “general fatigue,” which was followed by alopecia.

Surprisingly, alopecia appeared above other symptoms such as high temperature and joint pain.

Notably, the number of females appeared to be more afflicted as observed in the “any symptom” group, as compared to the no symptoms group.

Apart from this, there was no overall difference between the groups in terms of their age and medical history.

However, the values were lower in the “any symptoms” group than the no symptom group.

Due to the varying duration of long Covid, the researchers explained that the quality of life lost attributed to long Covid is far greater than flu-like illnesses.

In a previous study in Japan, the quality of life of long Covid patients was higher than that of the acute phase of flu-like illnesses.

Based on the results from this study, the researchers recommend effective preventative countermeasures for COVID-19, as the role of vaccines in long covid has not yet been demonstrated.

If you do experience hair loss from long Covid, or not, do not be too alarmed, most hair loss does not need treatment and is either:

  • Temporary and it’ll grow back
  • A normal part of getting older
  • Hair loss caused by a medical condition usually stops or grows back once you’ve recovered.

There are methods you can try if your hair loss is causing you distress. However, most treatments are not available on the NHS and are not 100 percent effective.

As the research study only accounted for a marginal amount of people, compared to global COVID-19 figures, the scientists have called for more research in this area.

Lead author, Shinya Tsuzuki, asked for more focus on the frequency and severity of long covid symptoms following infection with new variants, as well as why hair loss is a major symptom of lingering COVID-19 infection, rather than when you have the virus itself.

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