ARLINGTON, Texas — You already know there is a chance you could lose your sense of taste and smell if you get COVID-19, but some doctors say hair loss can happen as well.
Dr. Linda Amerson runs a hair and scalp clinic in Arlington and says sometimes hair loss is reversible. If you notice your hair is shedding more than normal, you should see a doctor as soon as you can.
Just by taking a couple of strands of your hair, Amerson can tell a lot about your scalp and your body.
“So we’re looking to see how healthy or unhealthy your hair bulb is growing. There are 38 different types of hair shed defects in which I can see. I also look at the internal structure to see what your water and nutritional absorption looks like,” Amerson explained.
Amerson is a board-certified trichologist - studying hair and the scalp is her specialty. As we pass the one-year mark of the pandemic, she is noticing more patients who come in with hair loss concerns after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“With COVID, it’s been more of a patchy type of hair loss, as well as an increase of shedding of the hair. So that’s more of immune system response,” she added.
When the body fights hard to kill a virus like that, sometimes your hair is collateral damage.
“One lady, in particular, she was hospitalized for seven days and she had a very severe case of it,” explained Amerson.
Other times hair loss is a sign of stress. Both are true for Amerson’s patients who were infected and recovered from the coronavirus.
“There was so much fear. That was another factor last year – don’t go outside, don’t do this, don’t do that,” she said.
This topic is not gender specific – men and women are coming into the office to see how they can protect their crowns.
Many of Amerson’s patients see hair as a strong link to cultural identity. Others have more of a religious perspective and believe hair is sacred.
Amerson says she knows how upsetting it can be to suffer from shedding, so she is sensitive to all situations.
“We’ve had some cases where they’re very, very attached to their hair and they start crying in my office,” she said.
Hair loss is common after recovering from other illnesses – Amerson has seen clients lose hair after suffering from pneumonia and the flu, among others.
If you ever have any concerns about the well-being of your hair she also says not to diagnose yourself.
It’s better to book an appointment with a specialist. The earlier a doctor can analyze your hair strands and scalp, the better chance they have of finding a solution and reversing the damage.