East Alabama women share hair loss experiences after COVID-19 illness

Alabama News

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – If you’re shedding alarming amounts of hair following your COVID-19 recovery, you’re not alone. Several well-known east Alabama women are sharing their journey with post-coronavirus hair loss to help others feel not so alone.

Rita Smith is Lee County’s Emergency Management Agency Director, Valerie Gray is the Chambers County Development Authority Director, and Brooke Corley is a well-known hairstylist in east Alabama and west Georgia. All three women were extremely ill with COVID-19 over the summer.

“It was the most unpleasant experience of my life,” said Valerie Gray.

Gray was sick for thirty days. Her sense of smell still hasn’t returned. Rita Smith also lost her sense of smell and doesn’t expect it will return after visiting an ENT.

“The blessing is I am still here, and there are many that are not,” said Smith.

Brooke Cooley describes her illness as flu on steroids. She, too, lost her sense of smell, but thankfully it’s returned. All three women say they are thankful to have recovered but are still dealing with an unexpected result of COVID-19, significant hair loss.

“The amount I lost after recovering from COVID is nothing like I have ever experienced before. It was alarming, and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to speak with you today to let people know this is a thing,” shared Corley.

Valerie Gray says her hair loss continues. She says to cover up her thinning top and sides of her hair; she puts her hair on top of her head and tries not to wash it as much.

“I am not a vain person, I promise. But, I wear a hat a lot because if I wash my hair every day like I used to, it just falls out in clumps,” shared Gray.

Rita Smith has a similar experience. She was so worried about the initial hair loss; she visited her doctor about it.

“I’ve always had perfectly thick hair, and I started to lose a brush full every time I would brush my hair, which scared me badly. I went to my doctor, and he said that’s a remnant of COVID-19,” said Smith.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association has an online link dedicated to COVID-19 hair shedding. The medical term is Telogen Effluvium, and it’s a condition sparked by illness, not just COVID-19, as well as fever or stress. The women agree COVID-19 can deliver all three; a mental and physical assault on your body and possibly your hair.

“From person to person, you don’t know how the virus is going to affect you. I think the stress we are under as we are trying not to get it and what we go through while we are going through it, wondering how bad it will be. I think that’s one of the contributing factors that trigger your shedding,” shared Corley.

The good news is shedding eventually eases, and seeing new hair growth can offer sufferers peace of mind. It just takes time.

“I tell clients to take your hair and section it off and take your blow drier and the airflow on top, and you can see the new hair that is growing. So yes, it’s not permanent hair loss kinda thing, and yes, you can recover from it,” shared Corley.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association explores the issue and why it’s essential to speak with a doctor who can guide you on treatments, vitamins, or supplements. Click here to read the information: AADA Can COVID-19 Cause Hair Loss

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