Self-care and medical treatment can help you manage pain and avoid other health problems.
Early treatment includes daily
antibiotics from 2 months to 5 years of age to help
prevent infections. Routine childhood
and adult immunizations are also important.
Managing pain is often a big part of having sickle cell disease. You can
prepare for a painful event ahead of time by creating a pain management plan
with your doctor. The plan should include what you can do at home to relieve
pain for yourself or your child. The plan should also tell you when it is best
to call a doctor or go to a hospital.
Some people need regular
blood transfusions to lower the risk of stroke and
treat anemia and other problems. Some people take medicine to prevent complications. In rare cases, a stem cell transplant might be an option.
Regular checkups are an important
part of life with this disease. People with sickle cell disease need a good
working relationship with a doctor who is an expert in treating it.
Learn what triggers, or sets off, painful events called sickle cell crises. Triggers often
include cold temperatures, wind, dehydration, and too much exercise. Low oxygen caused
by cigarette smoke, high altitude, and plane flights is another common trigger.
People with sickle cell disease and their families face ongoing
stress. A support network can help ease stress and worry. Ask your doctor if
there is a support group in your area.
Make sure that your child takes antibiotics regularly until age 5
to prevent infections. And make sure he or she receives all the usual
immunizations on schedule.
Your child can take part in normal school activities. Make sure
that teachers understand your child's special needs, like needing frequent
drinks and bathroom trips and avoiding overexertion and cold