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, including:
- Don't smoke. If you do smoke, quit. Your doctor can help with patches, pills, and support.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Exercise regularly, but not so much that you become really tired or dehydrated. When you exercise, drink lots of fluids.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, especially during warm weather.
- Try to reduce stress. Talk to your doctor if you're depressed or have problems at home or work.
- Contact your doctor for a fever, or if you think you have an infection so it can be treated as soon as possible
- Try not to get too hot, too cold, or too tired. Wear coats with hats, gloves, and warm socks in cold weather, and warm clothes in air-conditioned rooms during hot weather.
- Tell your doctor if you think you might have a sleep problem, like snoring, or sometimes stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep (called sleep apnea).
- Control any other medical conditions you have, such as diabetes. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about genetic counseling, and get started with prenatal care as soon as you think you may be pregnant.
- Only travel in commercial airplanes. If you have to travel in an unpressurized aircraft, talk to your doctor about extra precautions.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff