Rapper Drake has revealed a more unusual side effect that he experienced after coming down with COVID-19 – a change in the way his hair grows. Previously, the artist had a small heart shaved into the front of his hairline, however post-virus, a fan account comparing two side-by-side images of Drake showed a noticeable difference in the heart's positioning.
Quick to jump in on the comments of the image (which was captioned "That heart is stressed 💀😭"), Drake himself wrote in response, "I had Covid that shit grew in weird I had to start again 😂 it’s coming back don’t diss."
Whilst many of us are aware of the more common, lingering side effects that the virus can have (including a loss of smell, a loss of taste, fatigue and shortness of breath), hair loss is one that hasn't been so widely discussed. Yet, it's more common than you might think, Michael May, director of the Wimpole Clinic, previously told Cosmopolitan.
"While the scientific discoveries are still ongoing, evidence suggests that there is some kind of connection between virus symptoms or side-effects and the health of the hair and scalp," he observed.
It’s also thought that the psychological effects of surviving COVID-19 can have the knock-on effect of Telogen Effluvium, triggered by cortisol release, which is triggered by stressors on the body (i.e. illness).
The good news, however, is that your hair should recover from this as it's classed as a temporary hair loss condition. "Excessive hair shedding does not cause any permanent changes to the hair follicle," Ellie Coldham, a consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic, reassures. "However, hair does grow slowly (approximately 1.25cm a month) so the results will take some time to become obvious."
Recently, a major study - of over 3,700 people in 56 countries - found that there are up to 200 symptoms associated with Long Covid (defined as when symptoms of the disease last beyond 12 weeks). The research found that brain fog, tinnitus, tremors and even hallucinations were reported by some participants.
The study, lead by Athena Akrami, a neuroscientist at University College London, concluded that the symptoms spanned ten of the body’s organ systems, and that a third of the symptoms continued to impact sufferers for at least half a year.
The NHS website lists the common Long Covid symptoms as:
Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or tightness
Problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
Pins and needles
Depression and anxiety
Tinnitus and earaches
Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
Other effects found by the study included visual hallucinations, tremors, itchy skin, changes to the menstrual cycle, sexual dysfunction, heart palpitations, bladder control issues, shingles, memory loss, blurred vision, diarrhoea and tinnitus.
For support, reach out to your GP or visit the Your Covid Recovery website.
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