World Sickle Cell Day is observed on June 19, every year to increase awareness and knowledge among people about the condition and the challenges faced by the patients and families. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 22, 2008 which considered sickle cell disease as a public health problem and designated June 19 as World Sickle Cell Awareness Day to raise awareness about this disorder globally. Also Read: World Sickle Cell Day: Amazing Ways Nutrition Can Help Manage This Genetic Disorder
Sickle cell anaemia is a group of disorders known as sickle cell disease. It is a genetic disorder that affects the red blood cells, where there are not sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the vital organs in the body.
Generally, the red blood cells are round, flexible which moves freely via the blood vessels, but in sickle cell anaemia the red blood cells are rigid, sticky and sickle-shaped which get stuck in small blood vessels which hinders the blood flow and oxygen supply to parts of the system and causing pain. Also Read: Sickle Cell Anemia: Causes and Symptoms
Patients suffering from this condition are at risk of complications stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, bone disorder and priapism. There is no complete cure for this condition, however, treatments help to ease pain and prevent complications associated with the disorder.
Foray this article to get an overview of the problems faced by people with sickle cell disease and ways to prevent it.
Treatment for sickle cell disease includes measures to ease and control pain and prevent complications caused by the disease and the complication include a painful sickle cell crisis.
Pain Management Plan
Consult with your doctor and develop a proper pain management plan for easing the symptoms. In most cases, mild to severe sickle cell pain can be treated at home with a combination of medicines, adequate hydration and comfort therapy such as heating pads, however never use heating pads for children. If pain persists and becomes severe, then seek immediate medical care.
Prevent Childhood Infection
In children with sickle cell disease, it is vital to give regular doses of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor until the age of 5 to prevent infection. Besides this is also important to get the child vaccinated on schedule.
Prevent Eye Issues
Regular eye examination for both child and adult with sickle cell disease help in early detection of eye problem and prevent vision loss.
Drinking plenty of water and fluids is essential to prevent infection, UTI and boost the immune system. Consume extra fluids before, during and after exertion and if you suffer from fever or any infection. Restrict alcohol intake, as alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration.
Precautions To Be Taken While Exercising
A person with sickle cell disease while doing strenuous exercise may feel very tired or exhausted hence should take plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Intense physical activity may reduce oxygen levels and make red blood cells to sickle.
Children with sickle cell disease can play and exercise normally by following these simple tips:
- Consume plenty of fluids before, during and after strenuous physical activity.
- Take short breaks during strenuous exercise.
- Stay warm and dressed well with warm layers of clothing during cold weather to prevent exposure of cold air, wind and water which may worsen sickle cell crisis.
- Children with sickle cell diseases must avoid swimming and play in cold water.
Smoking and passive smoke can lower the oxygen level in the bloodstream, hence it is important to quit smoking.
Get Adequate Rest
Ensure to get sound sleep and rest to prevent fatigue and tiredness.
Stay Warm In Cold Climate
Exposure to cold air, wind and water may result in a painful stimulus triggering red blood cell sickling in exposed areas of the body. It is essential to dress warmly in cold weather to avoid sudden temperature change.
Precautions During Air Travel
The air at high altitudes like aeroplanes is pressurized which may make people suffering from sickle cell anaemia to encounter sickling problems while travelling. Most people, however, do not face any issues if they are flying for a short time less than 4- 6 hours. Staying well hydrated will also help to prevent dehydration.
A nutritious and well-balanced diet is vital to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay. Adding the right kind of food in the diet regimen will assists children with sickle cell disease to attain maximum growth and development. Folic acid supplements are recommended to support bone marrow’s production of red blood cells.