The coronavirus pandemic – a deadly respiratory disease – took the world unawares, leading to 5.74 million deaths worldwide at the time of writing. According to medical experts, coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19, is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus. Going back to its origin, the respiratory ailment was first identified in the city of Wuhan in Hubei, China. Ever since its discovery on December 31, 2019, the novel virus has spread to nearly nook and cranny of the world today.
However, the World Health Organization declared it a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2018. Later on March 11, 2020, the UN agency for public health declared the respiratory disease a pandemic. One unpopular symptom associated with COVID-19 recovery is hair fall. Regrettably, people who have experienced this condition are worried that it does not get the attention it deserves. In this article, you will learn all about COVID hair fall (shedding) and how to treat it using the principle of traditional Chinese medicine.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
People suffering from the virus have reported a number of symptoms. These symptoms range from mild ones to severe ailments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that its symptoms show within 2-4 days after a patient has been exposed to the virus. By and large, the most common symptoms of the ailment include fever or chills, cough, fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, headache, sore throat, congestion, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. Because this virus is still mutating and spreading at an alarming rate, people who present with these signs are strongly advised to see a doctor.
Furthermore, there are ongoing studies to unravel uncommon symptoms among the patients of the virus. Noteworthy is that older adults who have underlying ailments are more likely to face fatal complications due to the deadly virus than their young counterparts. To be precise, elderly people with heart and lung diseases are at high risk of developing complications due to the novel pandemic.
COVID-19: Hair Loss versus Hair Shedding
As identified earlier, one of the symptoms of the ailment is fever. Studies have shown that some people lose their hair temporarily while recovering from fever or any other ailment for that matter. Well, the novel virus is no exception. Interestingly enough, many people tend to consider this phenomenon as hair loss, but it is shedding or fall known as telogen effluvium. This means that when you have been treated and you are recovering from COVID-19, you are likely to experience hair shedding.
While people consider hair shedding (fall) and hair loss to be the same, it is imperative to state here that there is a difference between them. Well, hair loss occurs when your hair stops growing. This medical condition is known as anagen effluvium. On the other hand, hair shedding or fall is often a result of an ailment or stress that forces the hair follicles into its resting stage. Over time, the strands of hair begin to fall out. It is normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs per day.
Coronavirus-induced Hair Shedding
The most worrisome part of the COVID-induced hair shedding is that the condition lingers for several months among people recovering from the deadly illness. The hair fall is probably going to persist for 2-3 months after the disease. However, there are other factors may worsen the condition. These include nutritional deficiencies, genetic and environmental factors, hormonal factors, emotional trauma, drugs, and stress.
Generally, a number of factors may lead to COVID hair fall. These factors are:
- The obvious depletion of essential nutrients, including iron, zinc, b-complex vitamins. This is often due to infection and inflammatory process of the body
- Emotional stress induced by the fear of infection
- The release of pro-inflammatory cytokines during treatment
- The virus may damage hair follicles.
Here’s something you need to know. You see, the virus tends to induce hair shedding for a reason. Our hair goes through cyclical phases of growth (anagen), transition (catagen), resting (telogen) and shedding (exogen). Human scalps have lots of follicles, and each of them comes in different phases at a particular time. So, hair reduction and new growth take a while to occur.
Treating Coronavirus-induced Hair Fall with TCM
It can be frustrating to watch your hair stick in your hairbrush – no thanks to the viral disease. When you have the feeling that you are gradually going bald, you also feel you are losing a significant part of your identity. Admittedly, there are several anti-hair fall products on the market today. Alternatively, you can apply the principles of traditional Chinese medicine to treat the condition. How possible is that? Just keep reading!!!
Essentially, TCM practitioners believe that hair health has a strong connection with the blood. The reason is that the blood contains nutrients that nourish the hair. Additionally, the blood is linked to two vital organs, liver and spleen. As regards their functions, the spleen facilitates digestion and nutrient absorption, while the liver stores and circulates the blood. The moment the liver and/or spleen is compromised, blood supply is affected. Apart from the spleen and liver, the kidney is another organ that plays a vital role in the circulatory system. Much as the kidney has several functions, it contains a special substance known as jing that helps our hair to grow and maintain its color. When jing is compromised, your hair experiences poor growth.
Still, the liver ensures that the flow of energy (Qi) through the body is not interrupted. Keep in mind that Qi also drives the blood through the body, which is beneficial to hair growth. When you experience COVID hair shedding, TCM principle can help.
But how’s that? Well, here’s how:
- Eat meals rich in red dates and longan
- Also, eat kidney-nourishing foods black beans, sesame, and black fungus
- Plus, try hair tonic like Zingiber officinale (gan jiang) to help eliminate scalp itchiness and fallopian multiflora (He shou wu) to revive your follicles and stimulate its growth
- You should also apply acupuncture if it persists because this traditional therapy improves Qi and blood circulation in the body, thus balancing the body constitution and enhancing hair growth.
Dr. Zhou’s Personal Experience
You probably didn’t know that Dr. Zhou contracted COVID-19 in 2021. Well, you will learn something from her fascinating recovery journey. You see, after spending some weeks in bed with a coronavirus-induced fever, Dr. Zhou gradually bounced back to life. Some two months after the recovery, she started seeing huge strands of hair falling off her head while showering or combing. As you would expected, she was worried sick. After some extensive research, she decided to try a food recipe based on kidney-nourishing TCM principle.
This is it:
- You need ½ cup of black bean, ½ cup of azuki bean, 1 cup of black rice, ½ cup of job’s tear (also known as adlay millet), ½ cup of mug bean, 2 table spoon of goji berry, and 10 jujube berries
- Soak all ingredients overnight and cook in a crock pot for 8 hours
- Well, you can season it with any spices of your choice. Well, Dr. Zhou likes putting raw brown sugar in it and then making it a dessert
- Eat a full bowl daily for at least two weeks.
After two weeks of eating this mixed bean soup, Dr. Zhou no longer experienced the hair shedding. This means that she had her life back again – no COVID-19 and its related hair falls.
At this juncture, you have learned the organic way of tackling coronavirus-induced hair shedding for good. You can learn more about this recipe by getting in touch with Dr. Zhou now! She is just a click away!
- COVID-19 Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html Revised Feb. 22, 2012. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
- SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) sequences. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sars-cov-2/. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
- Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? American Academy of Dermatology Association. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding. Accessed Feb. 5, 2022.
- Ming TY. Chinese medicine for hair loss: How does it work? https://pulsetcm.sg/chinese-medicine-for-hair-loss-how-does-it-work. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
- Covid Map: Coronavirus cases, deaths, vaccinations by country. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-51235105. January 24, 2020. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.