Local hat store for women with hair loss sees influx of orders from COVID-19 survivors

SPOKANE, Wash. — After more than two years of the pandemic, so many have been infected with COVID-19 at least once. Some still have the virus in their systems weeks, sometime months after being infected.

For women across the county, these infections literally caused their hair to fall out. As scientists continue to research this serious side effect, one Spokane business owner is using her experience to help women transition with hair loss from around the world.

The ladies in a basement of Spokane’s Emerson Garfield neighborhood are familiar with this kind of loss.

“Before I worked here, I lost my job and I’ve moved and it’s just a really stressful time,” Jessica Taylor said. She works for “Hats Scarves and More” and ships orders all over the world. She can relate to the women who receive their hats and headwraps.

“Doing things like brushing my hair, running my fingers through my hair, taking a shower, I have so much more hair coming out than ever before,” Taylor said.

She says she’s survived COVID-19 twice and is humbled by some customers.

“We’ve had women reach out to us saying they’ve had actual bald patches,” she said.

While most orders come from women with cancer or alopecia, “Hats Scarves and More” CEO Nicki Serquinia says she’s getting more requests from COVID-19 survivors.

“They’re recovering from COVID,” Serquinia said. “Their life is hopefully kind of getting back to normal, they’re starting to feel better and then boom, the hair starts falling out.”

The same happened to ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who caught the virus in January.

“So when I noticed I had all of this breakage and thinning hair, as a woman, as a person, I found that incredibly distressing,” Dr. Ashton said.

Dr. Ashton believes more than 20 percent of people infected with COVID-19 have some form of hair loss.

She says the risk factors are uncertain and its unknown how to prevent it from happening.

“It’s physically devastating for the body but it’s also emotionally devastating,” Serquinia said. “Hair is a big part of you self esteem.”

Serquinia’s managed to dodge COVID-19 so far, but the former hairdresser was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer back in 1988 and underwent here own hair loss journey.

Her own experiences influence each design from function to fashion. She packages each letter with a handwritten note and a sticker, reminding women that they are beautiful regardless of their hair status.

“They can put it on their mirror or wherever it is they look everyday and know that they are beautiful,” Serquinia said.

Doctors say that COVID-19 hair loss is temporary and lasts about six months.