DES MOINES, Iowa — For most, it takes a few days or weeks or get over a mild case of COVID-19 but the lingering symptoms can last much longer.
Those who have recovered from the virus often say they experienced a cough, loss of taste and smell, and fatigue. Tricia Rivas experienced all of that and then some.
“It started out just a little bit and then it gradually got worse and worse and worse to where I was thinking ‘oh my goodness am I going to have any hair left?'” Rivas says. She tested positive for COVID-19 in August but says her hair didn’t start falling out in clumps until six to eight weeks afterwards. Rivas, a hairstylists and owner of Trixie’s Salon and Spa in Des Moines, knew she needed to seek medical advice as to what was happening.
Unity Point physician, Dr. Austin Baeth says post-COVID symptoms run the gamut with hair loss being fairly common.
“When people have extreme stress on their body, the hair quits cycling and those that are caught in this phase called the telogen phase end up losing their hair,” he says. “The good news is is people don’t go completely bald with it but they lose 50%.” Dr. Baeth says up to a third of patients with mild cases of COVI can have these prolonged symptoms. He expects Rivas’ hair to be back to normal in six months to a year.
“I’m thinking my goodness gracious. Can’t I lose hair any other places that I don’t want? It has to be from my head? This is not right! This is not right!” Rivas laughs.
Rivas started a vitamin regimen and only washes her hair once a week to help it grow. Doctors say patients experiencing hair loss can also try Rogaine but say time is the best medicine in this scenario.