Is Hair Loss a COVID Symptom? Khloé Kardashian Reveals 'Struggle' With Telogen Effluvium

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the symptoms caused by the virus have become known all over the globe.

Cough, fever, and loss of smell and taste have become associated with the illness, while the phenomenon of long COVID—in which symptoms persist long after the initial infection—has also plagued patients.

While some symptoms are well known, others are still being worked out as medical professionals learn more and more about the disease. One reported COVID symptom among some people is hair loss.

Media personality Khloé Kardashian is among those to have reported the symptom.

Speaking to fans in a Twitter Space chat on Tuesday, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star said she had begun experiencing hair loss after catching COVID back in March 2020, according to People magazine.

She is quoted as saying: "My hair really fell out with COVID... So after, it was really a struggle for a minute."

Hair loss isn't mentioned as a COVID symptom by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), COVID-related hair loss may be due to a fever, and could be an example of something called telogen effluvium—hair shedding.

Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a marked increase in the amount of hairs someone sheds per day. Typically, a person will shed between 30 and 150 hairs from the head every day. With telogen effluvium, the amount of scalp hair that is shedding can increase from 10 percent to 30 percent or more, according to the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).

It normally occurs suddenly, and generally happens a few months after the initial trigger.

Common triggers can be childbirth, trauma or illness, stress, a new medication or a hormone treatment, among others, the BAD notes.

Similarly, the AAD states that a fever or illness can force more hairs into the shedding phase and that it can happen two to three months after having a fever or illness.

The organization adds that this can last for six to nine months before stopping, and then most people will see their hair start to look normal again.

COVID-related hair loss was also outlined in an academic letter published in the International Journal of Dermatology in November 2020 by several doctors.

In it, they wrote that they had increasingly observed "new onset diffuse hair loss in patients previously infected with SARS-CoV-2" and that this was "clinically compatible with telogen effluvium."

They added that while it may be "intuitive" that telogen effluvium may be related to COVID, "it nonetheless remains imperative to increase awareness as to its possibility."

Khloé Kardashian
Khloé Kardashian seen at an NBA game in Los Angeles, California, on January 13, 2019. The celebrity said she experienced some hair loss after catching COVID in 2020, according to People magazine. Sean M. Haffey/Getty