Sickle Cell Disease | Prevention


How can I prevent a sickle cell crisis?

Most of the time, you won't know what caused your sickle cell crisis. A crisis usually has more than one cause. However, you can do several things to help keep a crisis from occurring:

  • Eat a balanced diet. Your doctor may suggest you also take folic acid supplements to help make new red blood cells.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink.
  • Don't smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
  • Exercise regularly but not so much that you become really tired. When you exercise, drink lots of fluids.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, especially during warm weather.
  • Reduce or avoid stress. Talk to your doctor if you're depressed or have problems at home or at work.
  • Treat any infection as soon as it occurs. When in doubt, see your doctor.
  • Try not to get too hot, too cold or too tired. Wear warm clothes outside in cold weather and inside in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather. Also, don't swim in cold water.
  • Tell your doctor if you think you might have a sleep problem, such as snoring, or if you sometimes stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep (called apnea).
  • If you have another medical condition, like diabetes, get treatment and control the condition.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, get early prenatal care.
  • Only travel in commercial airplanes. If you have to travel in an unpressurized aircraft, talk to your doctor about extra precautions.


See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/11
Created: 09/90