NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people say they have lingering symptoms after recovering from a COVID infection, and now some women say they’re suffering from extreme hair loss.
Anita Levine had COVID in March of 2020, and so did Sara Denig. Both say they suffered significant hair loss months after their diagnosis.
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“Every time I put a brush or comb through my hair, I look at it and it would be full,” Levine told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
“It was in the shower. It was on my bed. It was on my clothes. I would find it everywhere,” Denig said.
They’re not alone.
“For the most part, it affects women, though it can also affect men. It can affect people really at any age,” said Dr. Amit Garg, a dermatologist at Northwell Health. “Hair shedding is essentially the body’s response to some stressor.”
He says hair loss is increasingly common in people who had COVID or suffered a deep emotional impact due to the pandemic.
“Even having a family member come down with the infection,” Garg said.
Levine says she still suffers from a number of maladies, known as long haul or long COVID, but adds the hair loss is just crushing. It got so extreme, she says she even wore a wig.
“It messes with your self esteem, definitely,” she said.
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“It is important to treat early,” said Dr. Emma Guttman, the dermatology chair at Mount Sinai.
She says while hair loss is usually not permanent, she adds there’s no quick fix.
“The follicle is very deep, and it takes at least three months to start seeing it come to the surface,” Guttman said.
Photographs along with anguished messages from people who say they have suffered hair loss from COVID appear on the Facebook page for Survivor Corps, a website that offers information, support and resources for COVID survivors.
Sufferers offer suggestions like biotin, or other products. Garg has suggested minoxidll, an over-the-counter topical treatment said to aid in hair regrowth.
For some, the journey isn’t over even when it comes back.
“It is completely a different texture than it ever was before. What is that?” Levine said.
But everyone agrees, given the ravages of this illness, knowing it will come back offers a solid brush of hope.
Doctors say there is a window of about three years before the hair follicle dies off completely, so it’s best to get help right away.
MORE NEWS: Health Officials Tracking New ‘Stealth’ Omicron Variant Spreading In Europe, Detected In U.S.
For more, visit survivorcorps.com/story.
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