Day 266 of 365

Sickle cell health: what to look out for II

• Watch for signs of stroke. Some children living with SCD may have learning difficulties due to health problems associated with stroke (blockage of blood vessels in the brain that then causes brain damage).

• Teachers should be aware that declines in academic achievement, inability to maintain attention, difficulties with organization and mild delays in vocabulary development may be due to small brain injuries caused by strokes.

• Change in hand writing from legible to illegible can also be a sign of stroke in children.

• Teachers should contact parents when changes in learning or a child’s attentiveness are detected so that the child’s doctor can be notified.

• Formal neurocognitive and educational testing may be necessary to determine any learning difficulties caused by stroke.

• The testing may help school personnel in developing the best teaching strategies for the student.

Day 267 of 365

Sickle Cell Health Medication

• Penicillin – It is recommended that children with sickle cell anemia take penicillin twice daily. This should be started as soon as the diagnosis of sickle cell anemia is made. This protects them against infections like Pneumococcal infections. A prescription can be obtained upon visiting doctor or clinic.

• Foilc Acid- Taken as the doctor or clinic’s advice. Helps to prevent anemia.

Day 268 of 365

Sickle cell medication II

• Vaccinations – People living with sickle cell anemia have a normal anti-body response to vaccines and should receive all immunizations, recommended , furthermore, people living with sickle cell anemia should receive extra vaccines like Pneumococcal vaccine, Meningococcal vaccine, Typhoid vaccine and any that may be recommended by the doctor depending on the situation.

• Zinc – When taken, zinc helps with regulating immune function, treating diarrhea, effects on learning and memory, treat the common cold, wound healing, decreased risk of age-related chronic disease.

• Hydrea –Taken to increase foetal hemoglobin which increases the red cells in the body and reduces crisis episodes.

Day 269 of 365

Sickle cell support part 1

• It is sometimes difficult to come to terms with a chronic condition like sickle cell anemia. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about it for fear of stigma therefore seek support.

• Sickle cell like any other chronic medical condition should not prevent one from leading quality life.

• Receiving help and advice, sharing experiences and meeting others with sickle cell anemia can be beneficial to the child and the parents alike.

Day 270 of 365

Sickle cell support part 2

• Both parents and older children should enroll with a sickle cell support group.

• People living with sickle cell anemia may sometimes feel unable to cope with the inconvenient and painful effect of the condition. You can help by being aware of his or her feelings and by making allowances when necessary.

• Always make sure that you and the whole family are well informed about sickle cell anemia.

• New doctors and dentist must be told before any treatment is prescribed.

• Parents, doctors, teachers and sickle cell support groups should work together to help persons living with sickle cell anemia lead full and normal life.

Day 271 of 365

Sickle Cell Support Part 3

• Be aware of emotional well-being. Not all children with SCD have outward signs of illness. However, children with SCD may be smaller in size, have delayed puberty or experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). These sometimes subtle, outward signs may make children living with SCD targets for teasing and bullying. Students with SCD may cope with their differences by being aggressive, isolating themselves, or avoiding social situations with peers. Like other children with medical challenges, children with SCD may not have as many opportunities to play with other children, thus recreational activities or group-based. Mental health care and concern is critical for this community.

Day 272 of 365

Sickle cell summary

What is sickle cell disease?
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. If you have SCD, there is a problem with your hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. With SCD, the hemoglobin forms into stiff rods within the red blood cells. This changes the shape of the red blood cells. The cells are supposed to be disc-shaped, but this changes them into a crescent, or sickle, shape.

What causes sickle cell disease?
The cause of SCD is a defective gene, called a sickle cell gene. People with the disease are born with two sickle cell genes, one from each parent.

If you are born with one sickle cell gene, it’s called sickle cell trait. People with sickle cell trait are generally healthy, but they can pass the defective gene on to their children.

Day 273 of 365

Summary September Sickle Cell

What are the treatments for sickle cell disease?
The only cure for SCD is bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Because these transplants are risky and can have serious side effects, they are usually only used in children with severe SCD. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must be a close match. Usually, the best donor is a brother or sister.

There are treatments that can help relieve symptoms, lessen complications, and prolong life:

Antibiotics to try to prevent infections in younger children
Pain relievers for acute or chronic pain
Hydroxyurea, a medicine that has been shown to reduce or prevent several SCD complications. It increases the amount of fetal hemoglobin in the blood. This medicine is not right for everyone; talk to your health care provider about whether you should take it. This medicine is not safe during pregnancy.
Childhood immunizations to prevent infections
Blood transfusions for severe anemia. If you have had some serious complications, such as a stroke, you may have transfusions to prevent more complications.
There are other treatments for specific complications.

To stay as healthy as possible, make sure that you get regular medical care, live a healthy lifestyle, and avoid situations that may set off a pain crisis.

Published by Stephen Ogweno

a global health practitioner, NCD advocate and mHealth Innovator

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