The flu, like many other medical conditions, creates significant changes in the body when it occurs. Even if you get the flu shot, you may still come into contact with the virus. When this happens, your body goes into full force to protect against the infection, working hard to fight off the invading illness. As that happens, your body needs to put more energy and reserves towards the illness, often reducing its focus on other tasks, like hair growth. For some people, getting the flu or any serious health condition can result in hair shedding and hair thinning. Could it be happening to you?

What You May Notice

In people who have hair shedding that’s brought on by the flu, you may not notice it right away. You are not likely to see hair falling out in the first days you’re ill. Rather, it may take some time to notice any significant hair loss. Sometimes, the hair shedding does not take place until a few months after you have been sick. Most people who experience this do not even make the connection between having the flu and having a significant increase in hair loss since the two events seem to be so far apart. So, why is this happening?

Your hair goes through the hair growth cycle. Each hair on your head is at a different point in that cycle. One may be in the growing stage, while another is in the resting stage. No matter what is occurring, a serious illness like the flu puts a halt to the process to a point. For example, the hair that is in the growth phase may move into the resting phase because of the stress that the illness brings on. Once it enters this phase, the hair will eventually fall out, often six or so weeks after it enters this phase. That’s why there’s such a gap between the illness and the hair loss.

The following are some signs that you may be experiencing hair shedding brought on by the flu:

  • You suffered from the flu or another illness about two months to six weeks ago.
  • The illness was significant. That doesn’t mean it had to be really bad that you ended up in the hospital, but you may have missed work and felt fairly sick for a few days.
  • You began to notice hair falling out more significantly. Generally, this is a few strands of hair here and there. It is not common for this to occur in clumps or large amounts at one time (if that’s happening, that is a sign of a more serious health condition that needs to be addressed by your doctor).

If you experience this type of hair loss, you may be shocked and worried about what is occurring. It is not necessarily a bad thing or a sign of any type of complication. Many people experience this whenever they become significantly ill, even for a short period of time.

Will Hair Lost During the Flu Grow Back?

In nearly all situations, if you have significant hair loss that occurs as a result of the flu, there is a good chance the hair will grow back. It just takes some time, sometimes as long as three months, for your hair to start on the hair growth cycle again.

This type of hair loss does not typically lead to permanent loss because there is no damage to the hair follicle. Rather, the loss occurs simply because the hair entered into the resting phase sooner than expected, and more hair at one time fell out than you may not have had if you did not become ill.

What can you do about it? Generally, you may have hair that feels a bit thin for a few months. You can help to encourage growth by eating a healthy diet and working on boosting your nutrient intake. Reduce your stress and ensure that your body is getting enough sleep. All of this helps to promote overall health and healing, which is going to encourage hair growth again. If your hair loss does not return or does seem linked to an illness, it is best to speak to your doctor about what could be causing it to occur.

To learn more about hair loss prevention treatments, contact the team at Unique Hair Concepts to schedule a consultation.