Alyssa Milano, Instagram
Just a week after revealing that she tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) antibodies after three negative tests—two swab COVID-19 tests and one antibodies tests—Alyssa Milano is showing how the symptoms are still affecting her months later. Milano hopes to raise awareness of the fact that there are still lots of questions, and much research to be done, about the long-term effects of the virus.
In an Instagram post yesterday, August 10th, Milano videoed herself combing her wet hair with a detangler brush to show how much hair she loses in the process. "Thought I’d show you what #Covid19 does to your hair. Please take this seriously. #WearADamnMask #LongHauler," she captioned her post.
In the video, Milano says to camera, "I just wanted to show you the amount of hair coming out of my head as a result of COVID."
"Long hauler" has become the term for those who are still experiencing what they believe to be COVID-19 symptoms weeks and months after recovering. The actress initially had "acute" symptoms of coronavirus when she "fell ill" back in late March, toward the beginning of quarantine.
“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 was confused. Low grade fever. And the headaches were horrible,” she wrote in an Instagram post five days ago.
According to Forbes, an Indiana School of Medicine 2020 report on "COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Symptoms" does show that hair loss is a reported symptom by 423 study participants. The Cleveland Clinic also reports that hair loss seems to be showing as a longer-term symptom of coronavirus.
Dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal attributes this possible COVID-related hair loss to something called telogen effluvium. We'll let her explain:
"Essentially, it is a temporary hair loss from excessive shedding due to a shock to the system. There are several common triggers, such as surgery, major physical or psychological trauma, any kind of infection or high fever, extreme weight loss or a change in diet," Dr. Khetarpal said. "Hormonal changes, such as post-partum or menopause, can also be a cause."
Science magazine also notes that researchers and scientists are finding that heart arrhythmias, "brain fog," and hypertension, among other illnesses and symptoms, could also be "long haul" effects of coronavirus on the body.
It's just another reason to maintain social-distancing and quarantine guidelines and wear your mask, as scientists and medical professionals are still researching COVID-19's lasting impact.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.