It’s not always easy to figure out what’s causing a baby’s discomfort.
In some cases, the cause is a minor irritation while in others, it’s something that needs to be dealt with quickly.
One such instance is when your baby has sickle cell disease. It’s not uncommon for parents to be unaware of their baby’s condition but according to recent data, it’s definitely something you need to pay attention to.
While 1 in 13 African American babies are born with the sickle cell trait, 1 in 365 will have the full-blown disease. Mortality is not as dire as it used to be but there is still significant risk if your baby’s illness is not effectively treated.
The Symptoms You Need To Know
Most children don’t show the symptoms of sickle cell disease immediately. However, they will start to show up within the first year. These include:
- Anemia – Your baby may look pale and tired.
- Jaundice – This shows as yellowed skin, eyes, or mouth.
- Severe pain – In sickle cell disease, blood vessels get blocked and this can cause bursts of pain.
- Swollen fingers and toes – This symptom is also related to blocked blood vessels.
- Evidence of tissue death – In extreme cases, blocked blood vessels can lead to the death of tissue.
- Issues with the lungs – Coagulated sickle cells can obstruct oxygen flow to the lungs and mimic the flu.
- Issues with the spleen – When sickle cells get stuck, they can cause hemoglobin levels to drop and a painfully enlarged spleen.
The symptoms of sickle cell disease can vary from being mild to severe.
Worse yet, they can often look like other illnesses. If you notice any of the issues above, you should bring your baby in to be assessed. Additionally, should your baby experience any of these signs, treat it as an emergency and get to the doctor immediately.