09:05 GMT18 September 2020
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    A recent study conducted by a doctor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a grassroots COVID-19 survivor group known as Survivor Corps, has identified dozens of potential long-term COVID-19 symptoms, including hair loss.

    Using a poll on the Survivor Corps Facebook group, the survey identified 98 symptoms associated with COVID-19, according to Dr. Natalie Lambert, an associate research professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The survey was based on responses from 1,500 participants.

    “The new symptoms our study identified include severe nerve pain, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, blurry vision and even hair loss,” Lambert said, Fox News reported.

    The survey’s findings show that 26.5% of the reported symptoms were painful. Some symptoms included anxiety, memory problems, blurry vision, dry eyes, tremors, hair loss and persistent chest pain.

    Theresa Cabrera, 54, told Today that she first noticed her hair falling out when she was released from the hospital in May after getting a bout of COVID-19.

    “It came out in my hands - still does,” Cabrera, who lives in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, told the outlet. “I was freaking out… Now, when I make a ponytail, it’s less than a quarter of what it used to be. It’s horrible.”

    The findings from the study show that around 27% of patients who contracted COVID-19 still experience hair loss as a lingering issue. According to doctors, the hair loss may be related to telogen effluvium, which refers to temporary hair loss after stress or a traumatic event.

    According to the Cleveland Clinic, most people shed between 50 and 100 hairs per day. However, in the case of telogen effluvium, the proportion of hair follicles in the telogen, or shedding, phase of the follicle growth cycle spikes by up to 50%, which can lead to copious amounts of shedding.

    Dr. Esther Freeman, who manages the Dermatology COVID-19 Registry, a database of COVID-19-related skin symptoms, told Today that there has been an increasing number of people reporting hair loss while recovering from COVID-19.

    “If you’re recovering from COVID and then all of a sudden your hair starts to fall out, it can be extremely emotionally distressing,” Freeman, director of the Global Health Dermatology program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, told Today.

    “But I would say that given that we’re seeing this huge amount of telogen effluvium in patients who didn’t have COVID, there’s also a lot of stress involved,” she added.

    Dr. Marc Glashofer, a hair loss expert with The Derm Group in West Orange, New Jersey, also told Today that he’s recently seen an increase in telogen effluvium cases.

    “When I see somebody who has shedding, I don’t ask about daily stress like your job or traffic. We’re talking about big stress like the death of a loved one, change in career, a divorce and COVID - COVID is a big stress,” Glashofer said.

    According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. 

    However, the CDC also notes on its website that the list does not “include all possible symptoms” and will be updated as the agency learns more about the virus.

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