General Health Tips for People Who Have Sickle Cell Disease
Home treatment for
sickle cell disease includes steps you can take not
only to control pain symptoms but also to prevent some of the complications
caused by the disease. If you and your doctor have developed a plan for home
treatment of symptoms, be sure to follow your plan.
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Avoid conditions that lower the oxygen levels in your blood.
Avoid high altitudes. The
air at high altitudes, such as in an unpressurized airplane or in the mountains
at altitudes greater than
5000 ft (1524 m), has less
oxygen than at sea level. Most people won't have problems if they are flying
only for a short time (less than 4 to 6 hours) on a commercial
Avoid cold temperatures and wind. Avoid cold air, wind, and water. Dress in layers
in cold weather to avoid sudden temperature change. Cold temperatures can
increase sickling and trigger a painful event.
Get an eye exam every year to prevent eye damage or blindness. Have your
child's eyes checked during the newborn period and again at all routine
well-child visits. And get routine eye exams as an
adult. Try to go to a doctor who specializes in eye problems (ophthalmologist).
Learn to recognize serious symptoms. Partner with your doctor, using your experience with the
disease and your doctor's expertise. Make a plan for how to treat pain at home
and when to seek medical care for severe pain and symptoms. Serious warning