Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Sickle Cell Disease

Font Size

Topic Overview

(continued)

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 temperatures.

Learning about sickle cell disease:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

Living with sickle cell disease:

1|2
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
highlighted areas of the brain
How well do you know yours?
oatmeal and eggs
The best and worst for you.
dog begging at table
Foods your dog should never eat.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
mature woman with serious expression
What do you know?
chlamydia
Pictures and facts.
Healthy Snack
13 delicious options.
Take your medication
Separate fact from fiction.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
woman clutching at stomach
Do you know what's causing yours?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.