Telogen effluvium associated with COVID-19 infection

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Dermatologic therapy


Telogen effluvium (TE) is characterized by diffuse hair shedding 2-3 months after a stressor, and COVID-19 infection is potentially one such stressor. Those who were infected with the virus were under immense psychosocial and physiologic stress. We retrospectively reviewed electronic medical records of 552 patients who were evaluated by a Henry Ford Health System dermatologist between February 2020 and September 2020 and had a diagnosis of COVID-19 infection. Ten patients were identified with TE attributed to COVID-19 infection and described their presentations as a case series. For the ten patients selected, the mean age was 48.5 years old and 90% were female. Six of the patients were Black, one Middle Eastern, and three White. On average, the hair shedding began 50 days after the first symptom of COVID-19 infection. About 80% of these patients were treated with antibiotics, systemic corticosteroids, and/or hydroxychloroquine for their COVID-19 infection and 70% were hospitalized. The presentations of these patients suggest that COVID-19 infection may be a significant trigger of TE. TE caused by hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin or other medications cannot be ruled out, and the global pandemic itself is a source of psychosocial stress. Further studies will be needed to understand the long-term prevalence and prognosis of TE associated with COVID-19 infection.

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ePub ahead of print