Last updated 24th March 2020

We know that these are difficult times and that many of you may be feeling anxious. We have had lots of enquiries over the past two weeks, asking if people with Alopecia Areata are at an increased risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. We asked two alopecia experts, Dr Matthew Harries and Professor Andrew Messenger for their thoughts:

Alopecia Areata itself does not compromise the immune system or cause immune deficiency and there is no reason to think that people with Alopecia Areata are more at risk from COVID-19 than the general population, either in terms of catching the virus or being more severely affected by it.

The exception may be anyone being treated with oral drugs that suppress the immune system. These drugs include steroid tablets, azathioprine, methotrexate, ciclosporin, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and JAK inhibitors. We advise that anyone to whom this applies should contact their dermatologist. We do not expect that the use of topical products, such as steroid creams or lotions, diphencyprone lotion and steroid injections into the scalp, will increase the risk of infection by COVID-19"

You can check out the latest advice regarding immunosuppressent drugs from the British Association of Dermatologists here.

Another question we get asked a lot is whether people with no nasal hair are more likely to become infected by COVID-19. Dr Harries and Professor Messenger said:

“We do not know the answer to this question, and it would be extremely difficult to research it. However, as far as we know, people with Alopecia Areata, including Alopecia Universalis, do not have an increased risk of other viral infections acquired by a nasal route, such as the common cold or influenza.”

We recommend everyone follows the NHS advice around reducing the risk of picking up infections including thoroughly washing your hands frequently, practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with people who are unwell. If you think you may have symptoms of, or have been exposed to, coronavirus (COVID-19), get advice from the NHS on what to do: visit the NHS online coronavirus service or call 111.

It is not surprising that people are feeling worried in these challenging times. We are dealing with a huge amount of uncertainty and this is not something many of us deal well with. It is important that we take care of ourselves and be kind to each other in the challenging times ahead. Whilst many front-line services are scaling back, this does not mean that help is not available. If you are finding things difficult, you might want to read our blog post here.

For more information on looking after your mental health you can follow the links below:

How to stop overthinking

How to stop worry

Self-help guides for anxiety and depression

COVID 19 and your wellbeing

NHS health and wellbeing (including audio guides)

Money worries - Money Saving Expert advice

There are also some helplines if you are finding things difficult and would like to speak to someone. You can find a list here