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 familydoctor.org editorial staff