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Doctors discovered a new coronavirus symptom that might be related to stress

Published Jul 27th, 2020 9:10PM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
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  • Doctors are finding that some coronavirus patients start to experience hair loss weeks after their initial diagnosis.
  • Some doctors speculate that hair loss could be the result of coronavirus-related stress as opposed to being directly caused by the virus.

The list of coronavirus symptoms has slowly but surely expanded over the past few months. This, of course, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given how new the coronavirus is to both researchers and medical professionals. While our early understanding of coronavirus symptoms seemed to draw strict parallels to traditional flu-like symptoms, we now know that COVID-19 can manifest in a number of surprising ways. Back in April, for example, doctors began to notice that a loss of taste and smell was often associated with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

And just last week, doctors began noticing that younger adults who test positive for the coronavirus tend to exhibit symptoms like severe migraine headaches more frequently relative to adults over the age of 34. Another peculiar COVID-19 symptom that some have experienced involves unexpected hair loss. From what we’ve gathered so far, the hair loss starts to become noticeable a few months after the initial diagnosis.

To this point, WebMD adds:

The link between hair loss and COVID is just starting to be reported and recognized in research. Sara Hogan, MD, a health sciences clinical instructor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, says this timeline makes sense because hair loss often happens to patients 3 to 5 months after a stressful illness or experience.

At this point, it remains unclear if coronavirus-related hair loss is solely the result of the stress associated with a positive diagnosis or the result of the virus wreaking havoc across all areas of the body. Recall that the coronavirus, while categorized primarily as a respiratory illness, has been shown to attack an individual’s major organs in some cases. In other words, doctors are still trying to figure out some of the longterm ramifications from a coronavirus infection. All that said, doctors who have seen patients with coronavirus-related hair loss believe the hair could very well grow back once stress factors are addressed.

As Dr. Dan Negoianu observed a few weeks ago, “Even now, we are still very early in the process of understanding this disease.” The current list of COVID-19 symptoms as laid out by the CDC includes the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Meanwhile, a recent CDC report found that one-third of patients who contract the coronavirus still experience symptoms weeks and months after the fact. In these cases, patients have been unable to return to their baseline level of health.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.