Actor Alyssa Milano says she’s losing her hair after Covid-19 - is hair loss a symptom of coronavirus?

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 3:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 3:39 pm
Actor Alyssa Milano, who starred as Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed, has said that her hair is falling out as a result of contracting coronavirus (Photo: Shutterstock)

Actor Alyssa Milano, who starred as Phoebe Halliwell in Charmed, has said that her hair is falling out as a result of contracting coronavirus.

But is hair loss one of the symptoms or side effects of Covid-19? Here’s what you need to know.

Does Alyssa Milano have coronavirus?

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The actor said in an Instagram post that she has been suffering with several symptoms for months, revealing that after previous negative coronavirus tests, she has now tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies.

The NHS notes that an antibody test can tell you if it's likely you've had coronavirus before, but it doesn’t work for everyone since some people who’ve had the virus don’t have antibodies.

An antibody test does not tell you:

  • if you're immune to coronavirus
  • if you can or cannot spread the virus to other people

Alongside a photo showing her wearing a breathing apparatus, Milano said: "This was me on April 2nd after being sick for 2 weeks.

"I had never been this kind of sick. Everything hurt. Loss of smell. 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 adds.

What happened to Alyssa Milano’s hair?

Milano shared a video on Instagram brushing her hair, showing viewers how her hair is falling out.

She said: “I just wanted to show you the amount of hair that is coming out of my head as a result of Covid.”

At the end of the video, where she shows a clump of hair to the camera, she adds: “One brushing. This is my hair loss from Covid-19.”

Is hair loss a symptom of coronavirus?

The main symptoms of coronavirus, according to the NHS, are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms, the NHS notes.

Mayoclinic explains that other symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Tiredness

Although hair loss has not been commonly reported as a symptom of coronavirus, Mayoclinic says, “This list is not all inclusive. Other less common symptoms have been reported, such as rash, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

In the United States, a report entitled the “COVID-19 ‘Long Hauler’ Symptoms Survey Report”, compiled by Dr. Natalie Lambert and Survivor Corps in conjunction with the Indiana University School of Medicine, notes other symptoms of coronavirus, reports Forbes.

The report, which is not a peer-reviewed study, notes hair loss in relation to coronavirus, which 423 respondents of the survey said they had experienced.

The Cleveland Clinic released a similar report, in which dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal explains that “[w]e are seeing patients who had COVID-19 two to three months ago and are now experiencing hair loss. I think the timing is really crucial.”

The newly-emerging reports of the connection between hair loss and coronavirus illustrates that as scientific studies into Covid-19 and the symptoms of the virus continue to evolve, the potential long-term impact that coronavirus can have on those who have had it are yet to be fully known and understood.