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People experiencing temporary hair loss after contracting COVID-19

Cathy Hafsi, prior to contracting COVID-19 and losing some of her hair.
Cathy Hafsi, prior to contracting COVID-19 and losing some of her hair.(Courtesy Photo)
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 6:08 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - There are many long-term side effects from a COVID-19 infection, but there’s one side effect that’s not all that unusual, and thankfully, temporary.

Cat Hafsi is one of many people who have experienced it. She tested positive for COVID-19 just seven weeks ago. Vaccinated and boosted, her recovery process has been pretty simple, save for this one side effect.

“Just in the last week and a half, I’ve noticed a lot of hair. When I brush it, there’s tons of hair in the sink and it’s just like, ‘ugh,’” Hafsi said.

After asking other people who’ve contracted the virus, hair loss isn’t an abnormal reaction.

“Almost every person that answered has had COVID, and they were like, ‘I’ve lost half my hair.’ It’s like, oh my gosh,” said Hafsi.

According to Dr. Dustin Arnold, with UnityPoint Health in Cedar Rapids, it’s a stress-related side effect.

“There is a condition called telogen effluvium, and what it is is that when your body is under extreme shock - stress, an illness, maybe even a divorce or separation - some sort of stressor in your life, your hair roots quit, they go to sleep basically,” Arnold said.

Anyone suffering from this condition can lose up to 70% of their hair. But thankfully for Hafsi, and many others, the hair typically grows back on its own.

“It will grow back. I’ve seen cases go up to six months, I’m sure there are cases that have gone longer. Minimum, it’s going to last two months,” Arnold said.

Meaning, Hafsi should have her thick curls back soon.

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