Keep Yourself Well
Drink water – exercise – drink water – rest – eat – drink plenty water !!!!
- Make all your appointments and attend all your appointments
- Teach yourself and your child how to take care of the condition so you stay in optimum health
- Drink plenty of water – it is very important that you stay hydrated. Dry cells get sluggish and die sooner, causing the production of more sickle cells that block your veins and arteries — resulting in crisis
- Drink squash, juice or tea. Avoid fizzy drinks, extra-cold drinks, and alcohol
- Eat a well-balanced diet, with plenty of leafy green vegetables, whole grains and protein. Calcium-rich foods are good, but try to use alternatives to dairy products as too much cow dairy may cause a build-up of mucus
- Exercise is important to help circulation. Regular exercise helps keep your physical body strong and increases oxygen dispersal around your body. Please be careful not to reach the point of exhaustion, as this will cause an adverse effect resulting in crisis
- Enjoy warm baths or cleanse with warm moist towels
- Massages can contribute to wellbeing
- Spend time with caring friends and family who will support you and make you feel positive
- You can try alternative therapies such as aromatherapy massage, reflexology, or acupuncture. Some people have been using treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy to relieve symptoms that they have experienced and to avoid crises
- Prevention is better than cure!
Make sure you take your medication. People with sickle cell are at higher risk of infections which cause problems that could result in needing hospital care. You may also require vaccinations such as the flu jab.
Prophylactic (Preventative) Medication
It helps to learn as much as you can about the chronic illness. Get to know how it affects you, the factors that trigger your crisis, and how to avoid or minimise those factors. Keep a log of which medications make you unwell. You will become able to monitor yourself and know when you’re feeling well or when you’re becoming unwell. If you can address the issues at that point it could save you from having a serious crisis. For instance, if you think you have a cold or infection, go to the GP straight away and find out. Otherwise your symptoms could be exacerbated, putting you under extreme stress with sickle cell. With sickness and diarrhoea, when you’re losing a lot of fluids from your body, it is important that you seek medical advice – find out whether you have an infection, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Please do not shout at medical staff!
- If they don’t understand anything about sickle cell, shouting makes it harder for them to think, therefore leading to you not getting the help you need
- It is difficult to communicate clearly with the fear for your life when crisis sets in
- Try not to panic as this makes a crisis worse
- Explain that you have a blood condition that affects your haemoglobin. Use keywords like those below to alert medical staff to your condition and how dangerous it may be:
- Vascular occlusion (blockage of blood vessels due to sticky cells)
- Low haemoglobin levels
- The possibility of splenic sequestration – a potentially life-threatening condition of the spleen and liver
- Acute chest syndrome- infection of the lungs and asthma in sickle cell disease patients
- Aplastic crisis- the inability of stem cells to produce mature blood cells
- Infarction- the obstruction of the blood supply causing necrosis (death of tissue)
- Inform the staff if you are under a specialist. Make sure that you carry the name of your specialist and contact numbers. This saves time, and will help medical staff to understand what they need to do to help
- Make sure you carry a list of your medication