CORONAVIRUS AND THE HUMAN HAIR
What we know about COVID-19 is constantly changing every single day. With more than 4.55 million death toll, researchers across the world are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
While we know quite a bit about how it gets transmitted and the early symptoms, there are still nagging questions about its connection with the human hair: can coronavirus live in your hair? For how long? and can coronavirus cause hair loss? Have these questions ever crossed your mind?.
A study published in The Lancet revealed that the strain of COVID19 can stay on clothes for a day and on stainless steel and plastic for four days. Everybody is doing their best to keep the virus at bay, but what if it is in your hair? Ever wondered how long it can thrive there? And what we can do to reduce the risk of infection? We’ve got the answer, come grab a seat.
CAN CORONAVIRUS LIVE IN YOUR HAIR? FOR HOW LONG?
Based on research, viruses can’t flourish on fibrous and porous surfaces like the human hair. Yeah we know that this virus infects us through our mucosal surfaces, and the skin’s barrier is semi-permeable, but the surface of the hair is not.”
Medically, studies have not been conducted to establish a link between coronavirus on hair. Hence, it is still unclear how long the virus can stay or survive on human hair or beard. But rationally, there is a possibility that it can stay for a few days or at least some hours.
As long as you’re practicing social distancing, your chances of contracting covid 19 through your hair is extremely slim but not impossible.
If you are outside and touching public surfaces, you can put yourself at risk if you touch your hair repeatedly with your contaminated hands. When you are out, try not to touch your hair because all the virus present in your hands might get stuck in your hair.
WHAT DO EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?
Dr. Andrew Janowski
Dr. Andrew Janowski explaining how slim the chance of contracting coronavirus through your hair and clothes
“You have someone who sneezes, and they have to have X amount of virus in the sneeze,” Dr. Andrew Janowski, instructor of pediatric infectious diseases at Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis Children’s Hospital, told the New York Times. “Then there has to be so many drops that land on you. Then you have to touch that part of your hair or clothing that has those droplets, which already have a significant reduction in viral particles. Then you have to touch that, and then touch whatever part of your face, to come into contact with it. When you go through the string of events that must occur, such an extended number of things have to happen just right. That makes it a very low risk.”
Dr Hadley King
Hadley King, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist, gave us some tips on the connection between coronavirus and the human hair.
“Studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours, on metal for 2 days, and plastic for 3 days — but hair has not been a tested surface,” Dr. King explains.
“Generally speaking, viruses don’t thrive on porous surfaces like hair, but it may depend on the situation,” Dr. King says. “For example, if dead hair is collecting on a table or in a hairbrush and mucus containing viral particles come into contact with it, the virus could potentially live on that surface for 2-3 days.
“The living hair attached to our scalps may be better protected by our natural oils, which have antimicrobial properties and may limit how effectively microbes can attach to the strands,” she explains. “Theoretically, the virus could be passed from the hands to the hair, but if you’re not running your fingers through it, then there’s less of a risk.”
The further reduce the chance of contracting the virus through your hair, consider shampooing more often and deep clean your hair brush(Just remove the hair from the brush and immerse the bristles in a bowl of warm water with a couple drops of shampoo)
Check out the best collection shampoos to help you achieve this process.
CAN CORONAVIRUS CAUSE HAIR LOSS?
Straight to the point: can coronavirus cause hair loss? Yes but don’t panic! Losing fistfuls of hair may be a scary thing to experience, but it’s actually a common response to extreme stress, both physical and emotional, caused by severe illness. What do you mean? The point I’m trying to make is that any serious illness can cause hair loss—and COVID-19 certainly falls into that category.
It’s clear that fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and joint pain were the “primary long-term symptoms” of the virus but based on recent research post – activity polypnea( rapid breathing or panting) and hair loss is now underlying symptom of the virus and it’s more common in women than in men. But, the good news is that it’s temporary and you will experience regrowth in due time.
Dermatologist Angelo Landriscina, MD, Interview with Health
Dermatologist Angelo Landriscina, MD, tells Health that this type of hair loss can follow any stressful life event—not only severe illness like covid 19 but also surgery or a serious psychological stressor, like the loss of a loved one. “We’re not talking regular daily stress here,” he says.
To understand telogen effluvium, it helps to understand the hair growth cycle.
“At any given time, 85-90% of our hair is in a phase called anagen—the growth phase,” Dr. Landriscina says. “Meanwhile, 1-2% are in a transitional phase called catagen. Up to 10% of our hair is in the telogen or ‘resting phase,’ which is the phase where our hair is normally shed. In telogen effluvium, a larger than normal portion of our hair moves into the telogen phase and is shed.”
Some amount of hair shedding is normal; the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says it’s typical to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day. Yet losing “significantly more” than this is considered to be excessive, and results in a diagnosis of telogen effluvium.
“Many people with COVID-19 become severely ill with high fevers and other symptoms, which we know can be linked to telogen effluvium,” Dr. Landriscina says. “We know that the stress hormone cortisol is released at higher levels during severe illness, and we also know that cortisol can affect hair structures.”
What Covid 19 patients says
Genevieve Villamora, 44, says she suffered hair loss after recovering from COVID-19: Her hands would be covered with hair after a shower. It was “traumatic because as a woman so much of my femininity and self-image is linked to my hair,” says the Washington, D.C., restaurateur. Her hair loss began to lessen four months out from her recovery from COVID.
What does the research say?
A November 2020 study investigated late-onset symptoms of COVID-19 in a small group of 63 participants. For the 58 participants included in the analysis, 14 (24.1 percent) reported hair loss.
A November 2020 population study surveyed 43,565 people on topics like amount of hair loss, underlying health conditions, and COVID-19 status or outcome. It was found that hair loss was independently associated with more severe COVID-19 illness.
TIPS ON HOW TO PREVENT POST – COVID HAIR LOSS BY RUJUTA, CELEBRITY NUTRITIONIST.
Rujuta suggests adding butter, ideally homemade, to your breakfast. Call it white butter, ghee, or homemade makhan, it is loaded with vitamin A that keeps the hair healthy, and vitamin D that helps fight hair loss. Not only that, but ghee also has fatty acids which can simply do wonders for your mane.
Secondly, Rujuta recommends having aliv ladoo everyday. Aliv seeds contains calcium, nutrients, iron, dietary fiber, and various vitamins like A, C, and E which can help with hair growth.
Thirdly, For dinner, you can have dal rice or paneer paratha. Rice because it contains carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins that can foster a balanced environment in the scale that keeps your follicles healthy. And paneer because it is a great source of calcium and protein, making it a perfect diet addition for hair growth. This way you have strong and healthy hair.