Do’s and Don,ts While Living With Sickle Cell Disease
1. Drink plenty of fluids; dehydration can increase the risk of a crisis; it is very important to take lots of water about 10-12 glasses daily (Drink more fluids if you are exercising or in hot weather). This water drinking goes a long way to prevent crises because dehydration is a major trigger of sickling of the red cells thereby resulting in crises.
2. Prevent Infections: common illnesses can be very serious for people with SCD. It is best to prevent infections by maintaining good hygiene. Maintaining good hygiene for a warrior is important, ensure your meals are prepared hygienically, keep your surrounding clean, prevent stagnant water, use mosquito net and mosquito repellants.
3. Sleep: Always be well rested. Sleep deprivation causes stress which could result in crisis. Try to find techniques that help you relax and calm. We should not underestimate the power of a restful sleep. It is imperative we get enough sleep as lack of adequate sleep result in various biological changes that can cause the onset of crises.
4. Exercise: Regular moderate exercise (walking, cycling or as advice by your physician) helps to prevent crisis. It is important to aim for about 2 hours of exercise per week. Always inform your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Stressing that exercise is Moderate. Over exerting yourself by undergoing severe exercise can lead to the onset of crises. It is important that the exercise be mild to moderate with enough fluids taken. Go on your exercise regimen with plenty fluids and take as much as possible.
5. Stay up-to-date on Vaccines (such as the meningococcal, pneumococal vaccines). All required vaccines have to be taken as at when due, Plwscd gets to a certain stage when a certain body organ which prevents susceptibility to certain infective organisms dies, this results in the need to stay up to date with necessary vaccines as any infection could be fatal in a PLWSCD.
6. Regular clinic visit: this is very crucial to maintaining an optimal health. Our daily medications should never be missed.
All of the above points are crucial to living a healthy, stress free life
Don’ts While Living With Sickle Cell Disease
1. Extremes of temperatures: too hot or cold weather could trigger crises and .it is important to avoid such. The hot weather gets you dehydrated rapidly thereby causing crises and the cold weather causes tiny blood vessel constriction and resulting in crisis.
2. High altitudes: lack of oxygen or reduced oxygen concentration at high altitude could trigger crises.
3. Alcohol intake: can lead to dehydration
4. Heavy Physical labor; this should be avoided as much as possible.
Most of us do not want to be incapacitated in anyway but please, let us not outdo ourselves and we want to exert ourselves just as much as others but moderation should be employed
Support Systems For PLWSCD
We are just as important and crucial and some of the things we can do include:
- Detect signs of crises (be sensitive to signs and symptoms)
- Provide support systems for them (when needed)
- Help with Pain relief (this could be as simple as helping to massage or application of heating pads)
- Reach out to other support services (Social workers and mental health specialist)
- encourage then to attend clinic visits as at when due and daily use of medications
“No man is an island entire of itself” (John Donne).
Keep relevant bodies informed about your friend or child’s condition so they can be appropriately taken care of.
It is also important to know that, no one has absolute control over how SCD affects the body but the pain/ complications can be managed (or even reduced) by following the steps listed above.
Finally, Stay strong and keep fighting. YOU ARE WARRIORS
WhatsApp Discussion on held on 29TH September 2019
Facilitator: DR AYODEJI OLASEMO