COVID-19 May Cause Hair Loss

Apr 14, 2021

People infected with coronavirus usually suffer no long-term effects, but a few months after recovery some patients report significant hair loss. 

Credit CDC

Dr. Maggie Noland is a professor of dermatology at UVA who says hair loss is a natural part of life. “On a normal person they lose about a hundred hairs a day on their pillow, in the shower, when they brush,” she says.

But in former COVID-19 patients the number can be three times higher.  “Most people describe having clumps of hair coming out in the shower.”

Dr. Maggie Noland
Credit UVA

Noland explains that many illnesses, injuries or emotional stresses have been known to disrupt the natural cycle of hair growth and loss – pregnancy, surgery, pneumonia or the flu, but she says most people recover after three to six months without serious consequences.

“You have tens of thousands of hairs.  You’re not going to go bald, and for the person that you pass on the street, they probably don’t know your hair is thinner when they see you.” 

And for those who have longer-term problems she says a doctor can prescribe medication to promote new hair growth.  

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.