Alyssa Milano revealed on Twitter last weekend that she has been dealing with hair loss after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Personally I have not heard of anyone experiencing hair loss as a result of the virus so we thought we would share her story.
According to CTV News: The actress has been battling symptoms of the virus since March when she said she began experiencing fever and headache.
“Thought I’d show you what #Covid19 does to your hair,” Milano tweeted along with the video. “Please take this seriously.”
Alyssa Milano On CNN
In the video, she shows her clean detangling brush before brushing her wet hair.
“I just wanted to show you the amount of hair that is coming out of my head as a result of COVID,” Milano said in the video.
Holding up a large clump of hair in front of the camera she added, “One brushing, this is my hair loss from COVID-19. Wear a d*** mask.”
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 9, 2020
In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on PrimeTime and infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner last week, the actress said she was waiting for advice from doctors on what to do now that she is in recovery, noting that it’s not clear what next steps she should take.
“My question is there is no guidance on what to do once you recover. I don’t know if I should go get my heart checked, my lungs checked. There’s concerns about vascular system. Do I need to go get a panel for all of that?”
“There’s no guidance because this is all so new,” she added.
Schaffner said while there are no next steps that have been established yet, anyone still experiencing symptoms like Milano should continue to see their primary physician for care.
Milano has been suffering with several symptoms for months, she said in an Instagram post last week.
“This was me on April 2nd after being sick for 2 weeks,” she posted along with a photo showing her wearing a breathing apparatus.
“I had never been this kind of sick. Everything hurt. Loss of smell,” she wrote. “It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t keep food in me. I lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks.
“I basically had every Covid symptom,” Milano wrote, adding that although she had tested negative for the virus twice, she has since tested positive for antibodies.
“I am POSITIVE for covid antibodies,” she wrote. “I had Covid19. I just want you to be aware that our testing system is flawed and we don’t know the real numbers.”
“I also want you to know, this illness is not a hoax,” she added. “I thought I was dying. It felt like I was dying.”
“I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt.”
On Twitter, there was a ton of skepticism, some suggesting it was her affiliation with Wen products others stating that she was brushing too hard with her brush.
This should be a PSA of how not to brush your hair.
Alyssa Milano seems to think that her hair loss is the result of the Chinavirus and not because she’s ripping it out by brushing from the root down.
Any person with long hair knows the rules.
— Jillian Anderson (@Jillie_Alexis) August 10, 2020
Do you take the prenatal pills to keep your hair from falling out? I was prescribed that after I was given a specific medication for my arthritis that compromises my immune system for 24 hrs after. I take the meds once a week. That might help.
— G. Barton-Sinkia🍁 (dual citizen since 2004) (@gbartonsinkia) August 9, 2020
Other users focus on the main message of the video which is “wear a mask”. We are not doctors so we have no idea if having COVID-19 can cause hair loss but we do know that stress and compromised immune systems can directly affect your hair.
The Huffington post signals the same thing in this post where they make mention of the fact that one of the many side effects of COVID-19 that have emerged, hair loss may be one of the most unexpected.
“It took me a little off guard,” says Dr. Pedram Yazdan an assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “I think it allowed me to appreciate how stressful this infection can be on our bodies.”
Technically known as telogen effluvium, temporary hair loss can be triggered by many things, from weight loss to severe infection and psychological stress.
Yazdan, who specializes in hair loss, says all three may play a role in the reports of hair loss he’s seeing. One such report, a survey of more than 1,500 survivors released in late July, lists hair loss as among the top 25 symptoms experienced (out of nearly 100 total) by COVID-19 survivors.
Conducted by Dr. Natalie Lambert, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and Survivor Corps, a grassroots movement of COVID-19 survivors, the survey reveals that more people experienced hair loss than nausea or runny nose — two hallmark symptoms of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It could be infection, it could be nutritional, it could be a lot of stress on the body — physical stress and medical stress,” says Yazdan.
“Some patients with a lot of emotional stress … if they have a lot of anxiety or just some situational event in their life which is very emotionally taxing that can lead to hair shedding.”
The pervasive stress associated with this pandemic, he says, is likely playing a major role — and may even be causing hair loss in those without the virus.
“I’ve been doing a lot of telehealth hair visits too and a number of my patients haven’t gotten COVID, but they’re shedding their hair,” Yazdan says.
“I can’t really figure it out, but then when I probe more, just the fact that they’re in lockdown, stuck at home or worrying about losing their jobs…the life stresses that it’s putting on people I think is contributing.”
The moral of the story is we have to focus on taking good care of ourselves during this time. Well wishes to Alyssa Milano.
Have you or anyone you know had the virus and lost hair? Share your story below!