Caring For Your Child With Sickle Cell Anemia

mother comforting daughter

Sickle cell anemia is a common condition of the blood caused by a deformity in red blood cells that reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to it. This condition is common in African Americans and can cause major complications in those who are afflicted. Early signs of sickle cell anemia can be seen in a child as young as four months old, and should be taken seriously as this condition can cause great sickness or even death if not monitored.  There are several things that a parent raising a child with sickle cell anemia should be made aware of to maintain optimum health for his/her child, but we have laid out five basic tips that every parent should know.

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Always treat a fever seriously.

When a fever is present within a child that has sickle cell anemia, it is a sign of a present infection that needs to be treated with medical attention.  These children are susceptible to frequent infection because sickle cells can damage the spleen, an organ that fights infection. If a fever is present, seek medical attention immediately.

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Monitor temperature changes.

Drastic changes in temperature from hot to cold can bring on a crises episode, known to bring on extreme pain in the body. Monitor a child’s bodily temperature by packing the adequate clothing to accommodate temperature changes. Pack a sweater for rooms that may be chilly or cold, and encourage your child to be aware of when he or she becomes overheated or chilly. Send a note to school with your child to notify the teacher to keep an eye on them to make sure he or she is maintaining a regulated body temperature.

Use massage and warm baths to ease crises episodes.

Crises episodes can vary in level of pain for each child. Ease your child’s pain by using massage and warm baths to ease pain within the bones.

Sickle Cell: What African Americans Need To Know Now

Supervise physical activity.

Physical activity can raise body temperature that can bring on a crises episode.  Supervise physical activity closely to ensure your child does not become overheated.

 

Visit the BlackDoctor.org Sickle Cell Anemia center for more articles.