WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Some common COVID-19 symptoms — like the loss of taste and smell — are known long-hauler issues. Now, a group of women say they are experiencing the loss of their hair.
After taking showers or simply brushing their hair, many of these women are having handfuls of hair fall out. But, it hasn’t happened just once; for most of these women, it’s been happening for months.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this type of hair loss isn’t as unexpected as we might think.
It can be common to lose hair after running a fever or recovering from an illness. It can take anywhere from six to nine months before hair growth starts again.
Although that answer did little to help with how these women felt, so they needed somewhere to turn for support.
Maria Gertson had COVID-19 back in May, and about a month later she started losing her hair.
“Baseball-size amounts of hair in my hand and crying and telling my husband, ‘I’m gonna be as bald as you are,’ that was devastating,” Gertson said.
After the hair loss continued throughout the summer she needed someone to turn to. So, she started a support group on Facebook.
“I started this support group on Facebook because I was devastated. There had to be more people like me because I felt really all alone and didn’t know what to do,” Gertson said.
Gertson’s group has gained members from across the country — from her hometown in Texas, all the way to Wilmington.
Rose Jones, a Wilmington resident joined the group after about two months of consistent hair loss, similar to Gertson.
“I started noticing clumps of hair in the bottom of the shower, and I was like, ‘I wonder what this is’. I thought it was maybe from my dog or something. So, I did clean the shower and then the next shower there was a bigger clump on the ground. And as I’m combing my hair, I’m literally just pulling hair out, and then I looked at the comb and it was all wrapped around and I pulled it off and I was like, ‘I need to start documenting this’,” Jones said. “I deleted my pictures in the very beginning, I didn’t want to face it. And then my hair loss got really bad, and I started crying a lot. Looking in the mirror holding all this hair and trying not to show my husband how upset I was. So, I started researching on Facebook, trying to find a support group. I needed to talk to somebody.”
Jones wasn’t getting any hopeful answers from her doctors. “We don’t know who to talk to. Doctors are all claiming, ‘well this should end in 30 days, this should end in three months, this should end in 6 months.’ Well all the shoulds isn’t a definitive answer,” Jones said.
“You can see my scalp, how thin it is and when I touch my hair, it is so thin. When I put my hair in a ponytail, which I’m afraid to do now, my ponytail is so skinny,” Jones said. Jones for the most part doesn’t brush her hair anymore, out of fear of losing more hair than she already is. “I’m taking multivitamins, I started taking biotin, I have not seen any difference, but it might not be long enough, I don’t know,” Jones said.
Gertson is also taking a pleathora of supplements in hopes of having her hair grow back sometime soon: “Vitamin C, Biotin, Vitamin D, Zinc, B12, B6, all of that,” Gertson said.
Now the nearly 500 women in the Facebook support group are holding out hope for relief but at least they know, as they have lost their hair, they’ve gained a support system. “And I just encourage them, just hang in there guys, this is a temporary thing,” Gertson said.
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